Ireland is studying a possible link between mineral water and the spread of rare cancer-related bacteria that has been linked to cases of colesmin.
The Health Department said it was investigating a possible connection between mineral-rich water in the water supply and colescalctomiasis, a rare disease that affects the intestines.
The department said it had also been informed that a man in County Donegal had tested positive for the disease and had been diagnosed with it.
“We’re looking into the possibility that there is a connection between the mineral water that comes from the water in our aquifers and the growth of bacteria,” said a spokesperson for the department.
“It is not yet clear what the link is, but we are aware of an individual who has tested positive and has been diagnosed.”
“It could be an indication that it’s an isolated case and there could be other people that are also affected,” the spokesperson added.
It is unknown whether the water is sourced from a single source or from a variety of sources, with some sources including coal, water treated with chlorine and other chemicals.
The Department of Agriculture said it would liaise with local authorities to investigate the issue.
“There are a lot of different types of water and minerals that come from different parts of Ireland, and we’re working with the local authorities,” the department said.
“There are some things that are quite unique to our region, and that is that the mineral-bearing water is a very important source of water in Northern Ireland.”
“There’s no real trace of coliform bacteria in any of the water we use.
We’re not aware of any contamination in any other water source in Northern Irish waters.”
A spokesperson for Ireland’s Environment Minister said it is the responsibility of the public to be aware of the risks they are taking from drinking water, and if they are concerned about their health, to seek advice from their local authority.
“That’s a matter for the local authority and the health department,” the Department of Environment spokesperson said.
“They are responsible for ensuring that the water they use meets the requirements of the European Water Framework Convention, and the European Food Safety Authority.”
The Department also said it works closely with local councils to ensure that water quality is kept up to date.