With fine autumn weather in the forecast and schools set to close for a week of autumn holiday, many Norwegians are expected to head for the mountains. Doctors are warning hikers, however, not to drink water straight from mountain creeks or rivers, because it may be contaminated by all the lemmings and small animals running around this year.
“Folks should carry bottled water with them when they go hiking this year,” Dr Robert Tunestveit, municipal doctor in the mountain town of Ål in Buskerud County, told state broadcaster NRK. It’s already been declared a lemming year in Norway, and warnings went out earlier that the small, sometimes fierce rodents can sicken hunters’ dogs. Now people are being warned as well.
“Creek water that otherwise is of top quality can be dangerous to drink,” Tunestveit said, if it’s been frequented by lemmings and other small animals that can carry and spread disease called harepest.
He said that users of holiday cabins with wells should also be careful about the condition of the well water, since contaminated surface water can seep into wells and spread bacteria. Symptoms of the disease include fever, vomiting and sore throat.