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Food Poisoning in Carrion de los Condes.

MaryLynn

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I think it is very strange that, out of all of my caminos in the past eight years, I was only sick (gastrointestinal) two times--in May 2012 and November 2018--in the same part of the camino, between Boadilla and Carrion--and both times my walking mates also were sick. In 2012, many others who were walking at the same time also became sick for 2-3 days--one woman collapsed on the trail just before Carrion.
I never drink water from a village fountain - only tap water.
My questions are:
If the sickness is due to a virus, would a virus remain in the same area year after year after year?
If the sickness is seasonal, would it only strike during one season - only fall or only spring? but not both?
If the sickness is due to the tap water, wouldn't almost everyone who passes through that section get sick - and the locals, too?
The sickness could be due to a particular restaurant's poor food handling techniques, but not everyone who has gotten sick in that area would have eaten at the same restaurant.
I also walked through that area in five other years in spring or fall and I did not get sick. Very curious!
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
The problem is with natural mineral waters/untreated spring waters and “in their natural state” is a possible cause for concern. Frequently they are promoted as “free” from various contaminants which are nonetheless present as trace elements or even in some cases at levels well above those permitted in town water supplies.
Ensuring that any water has enough of the right mineral / trace elements and safe levels of others is a real issue for water purification systems. I recently attended a lecture explaining the intricacies of a ship's water treatment plant. It used a reverse osmosis filter as the first stage. This produced water so pure as to be unpalatable, It had to be re-mineralized before it could be distributed to cabins, the kitchen and dining room, etc.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
I think it is very strange that, out of all of my caminos in the past eight years, I was only sick (gastrointestinal) two times--in May 2012 and November 2018--in the same part of the camino, between Boadilla and Carrion--and both times my walking mates also were sick. In 2012, many others who were walking at the same time also became sick for 2-3 days--one woman collapsed on the trail just before Carrion.
I never drink water from a village fountain - only tap water.
My questions are:
If the sickness is due to a virus, would a virus remain in the same area year after year after year?
If the sickness is seasonal, would it only strike during one season - only fall or only spring? but not both?
If the sickness is due to the tap water, wouldn't almost everyone who passes through that section get sick - and the locals, too?
The sickness could be due to a particular restaurant's poor food handling techniques, but not everyone who has gotten sick in that area would have eaten at the same restaurant.
I also walked through that area in five other years in spring or fall and I did not get sick. Very curious!
These are good questions, and I would hope that local public health officials ask them too. However, I can imagine that we pilgrims might be a very frustrating population to deal with.
  • We are transients, and move quickly on to orher places.
  • We are often reluctant to seek early medical treatment, perhaps believing we can walk through some of these problems.
  • We may be forgetful about what might be key details of times and places food and drink was consumed, particularly with the effluxion of time.
None of these will make it easy for them to deal with health issues like higher than normal incidence rates for GI issues, etc.
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
It would be interesting to make a poll where people that over the years got sick around Carrion come from. Maybe Europeans have somehow incorporated anti bacteria system but people coming from different parts of the world does not. For example I walked through there two times and even 5 times on other stretches of Meseta and never got sick. I'm from Europe.
 

Marcus-UK

Old Git
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017
Absolutely, Doug,I could find nothing but UHT milk when I walked and having had an involvement in food safety control issues in a previous life, the causal effects of such illnesses really need a lot more work. However I’m a bit disturbed at the faith some people put it bottled water. There has been quite extensive testing here at least and I understand elsewhere showing that bottled waters in many cases simply don’t meet the standards healthwise of tap water, and are often not “free” of the various contaminants people are concerned about. In a recent case, the only product which complied with health standards was Fiji water, which was also the most expensive and tested exactly thecsame as tap water so one could speculate on its source!
De Colores

Bogong
There is a perceived difference between the standard for water quality or safety between the Anglo Saxon and Latin Worlds. In the UK water safety is based upon the absence of bacteria that cause stomach upsets or are inimical to life. Especially in France the focus is on the absence of chemical contaminants. I first noticed this in South Staffordshire in the 1980's when the local artesian water was safe to drink but had enough nitrites in it to obviate buying fertiliser for my garden. Conversely water sources in France could be certified as safe but they still contained bacteria that tourists had no immunity too. Harmonisation of European legislation has reduced this sweeping generalisation. However many non-premium bottled water plants just abstract water from the local municipal supply, bottle it and distribute to gas/petrol stations, local shops, supermarkets etc. The level of additional testing or hygene standards may be compromised by selling a product on the slimmest of profit margins.
 
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Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
Happy to report a successful traverse of the problem area! I stayed at San Zoilo in Carrion and San Bruno in Moratinos. Drank beer, vino tinto and bottled water. Thought about calling on Rebekah in Moratinos but worried about the reception I might receive! Now enjoying lunch in Sahagún Plaza Mayor.
 

gerip

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
It would be interesting to make a poll where people that over the years got sick around Carrion come from. Maybe Europeans have somehow incorporated anti bacteria system but people coming from different parts of the world does not. For example I walked through there two times and even 5 times on other stretches of Meseta and never got sick. I'm from Europe.
Interesting. I’m in the area now. Yesterday in Hontanas a pilgrim was very ill in the AM. My intestines were a little dodgy the night before so only drank mineral water to give the innards a rest. Have been drinking the tap water, might switch to bottled.
 

LouiseW

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
A lot if pilgrims has stomach problems on the Meseta. It seems to come from tap water on the Meseta and particularly around Burgos, Boadillo del Camino and Carrion de los Condes. So it is probably a good idea to buy bottled water close to the industrial farming areas on the Meseta between Burgos and Astorga.
I walked overthere early May 2016 and had problems too! Started in Burgos and was sick a few days later. I thought I should take it more easy or didn’t drink enough but it must have been the water it self! Eyeopener after 3 years.
 

ouroboros

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012) (2019)
Camino Portuguese (2017)
It could also be a regular bout of "camino flu", possibly norovirus, we caught it near Boadilla in September last year and never drank untreated tap water.
My husband got a norovirus after we bussed across the Meseta from Burgos to Leon. He thought it was Leon but I think he got it in Belorado or Vilar de Major...industrial farm country is hazardous terrain.
 
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Antomuchacho

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
As regards to the water and milk situation would it not be best safe than be sorry etc than to consume more cerveza and tinto for safety reasons😉😀 tho guinness has much more nutrient and vitamin potential its harder to come by in spain😎
 

gerip

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
So yes, seems I came down with a case of the “Carrion collywobbles” 🤢 this morning, but as I now have a bit of a chill as well I suspect it’s a virus picked up from another pilgrim at the mass last night during the “passing of the peace”, after which I went straight to supper without washing my hands. Or maybe from handling the tips on my poles, also without sanitising the hands afterward. Didn’t want to chance crossing 17 k without facilities so took the 11:45 AM pilgrim special from Carrion to Terradillos.
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
the effluxion of time.

“effluxion” .. commonly used in legal documents.

But thefreedictionary.com gave the following:

“1. A flowing outward.
2. Something that flows out or forth; an effluence.
3. A passing or an expiration, as of time.”

....which made me chuckle 😄

(I chose orange to highlight, since, as we all know, and as the wonderful Billy Connolly confirms, there are always carrots contained therein, whether they have been consumed, or not.)
 

gerip

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
@VNwalking thanks. But as I think about it a virus could be living at one of the major albergues in Burgos and become amplified by the time it gets to Carrion. With hundreds of pilgrims passing through weekly and being open year round I doubt if any of those places can ever get a deep clean. Which would definitely keep the whole syndrome a totally pilgrim thing. Will just have to be more vigilant with the hygiene.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
“effluxion” .. commonly used in legal documents.

But thefreedictionary.com gave the following:

“1. A flowing outward.
2. Something that flows out or forth; an effluence.
3. A passing or an expiration, as of time.”

....which made me chuckle 😄

(I chose orange to highlight, since, as we all know, and as the wonderful Billy Connolly confirms, there are always carrots contained therein, whether they have been consumed, or not.)
I have used the word for years without thinking of it as being limited to use in legal documents. In the context of the current thread, I did mull over whether it was appropriate to create the double entendre you have detected, and so I am glad that it brought even the smallest glimmer of humour to this otherwise quite serious discussion.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2013.2014..SJ/SDC ....2015.PORTO/SDC..2017.18.19.20.BURGOS/P.FERRADA
I have lived for almost 13 years in the area described. I drink the water, I eat the food, I walk the trail. I am not sick, most of the time.
Water is tested, kitchens are inspected, thousands of pilgrims pass through without any ill effects. But some people get sick, and get on the internet, and find romantic tales from years past of "bad water on the Meseta." It is so much more dramatic than "gastro germs spread among travelers living in crowded conditions." They buy into the myth, and it lives on.
If the water was bad, we ALL would be ill.
The water is fine. IMHO, if there is a "locus of infection," it's a lot more likely to be an albergue bathroom somewhere up the trail.
I find it tiresome, hearing this slander every year.
(BTW, it is illegal in Spain to sell or serve raw milk in any commercial establishment.)
Before my first Camino I was advised by a former Pilgrim not to drink the water from fountains.Due to problems with our train it was 9. 30pm when I reached St. Jean and left next morning before anyone was open so failed to buy any water.I had no choice but fill up from the first fountain.I never bought water on that or on any subsequent Camino.Just luck? I do not think so.
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
I have used the word for years without thinking of it as being limited to use in legal documents. In the context of the current thread, I did mull over whether it was appropriate to create the double entendre you have detected, and so I am glad that it brought even the smallest glimmer of humour to this otherwise quite serious discussion.

Nice turn of phrase! 😊😄
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Happy to report a successful traverse of the problem area! I stayed at San Zoilo in Carrion and San Bruno in Moratinos. Drank beer, vino tinto and bottled water. Thought about calling on Rebekah in Moratinos but worried about the reception I might receive! Now enjoying lunch in Sahagún Plaza Mayor.

You cut me to the quick! I would never be mean to a Forum member!
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
You cut me to the quick! I would never be mean to a Forum member!
I didn’t want to intrude - I thought maybe too many pelegrinos were dropping in on you and invading your privacy (or your husband’s). I now regret not stopping to say Hello. I’m also a bit afraid of dogs!
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I didn’t want to intrude - I thought maybe too many pelegrinos were dropping in on you and invading your privacy (or your husband’s). I now regret not stopping to say Hello. I’m also a bit afraid of dogs!

I can see where the dogs might be intimidating, as sweet and loving as they are. Judy looks like a wolf, I know...
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
Another time, another Camino.....
 

KatG

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
0
I don't know how long this warning appears in the guide books. Maybe only 10 years, maybe 20?
Why it has to be repeated again and again and again ...
You can also find that warning for the first 2/3 of Via de la Plata and other arid zones in Spain.

The water from the tap is controlled, purifified (with UV light) and chlorified all over Spain! For that reason it does not have any bacteria and tastes bad. In the meseta it may contain more fertilizer, nickel, lead, ..., than usual, but it is still good enough for humans. People with reduced health defence (from heat, sun-burn, bad sleep, different food) may already show an reaction, but you'll never really know the origin.

If people drink water from the few fountains there is always more risk. In Galicia you will find warnings if the water is "not controlled", but in other places I saw only "no potable" for probably very bad water and mostly no sign at all.

Summary: If you feel uncomfortable with tap water buy your liquids or take a filter with you. With the latter you can drink from any pond or puddle.
We had about 10 in our group end up in medical care, in Leon hospitals etc, one even emergency flighted back to the US.... boadilla to carrion de los condes to the next albergue and people so sick they couldn’t stand up... I was buying water so I wasn’t sick. Others, not do fortunate. Water born for sure!!!!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Caminho Português da Costa (Fall 2018)
There was a flu going around at that time. Both my friend and I (and room mates and many others) had a 24 hour flu. It pays to be careful about what you eat and drink. Not everyone has been reading these postings for a while, so I do think it is fair to warn people. Fore warned is fore armed. There is nothing fun about being ill while walking the Camino. Nothing. Thanks for letting folks know.
No such thing as 24-hour flu ... it is gastroenteritis. Unlike influenza virus which attacks the respiratory system, gastroenteritis can be caused by any number of disease-causing pathogens, including bacteria, non-influenza viruses, parasites, and even fungi.
24-Hour Stomach Flu Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

How to treat Gastroenteritis.png
 

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