A small town in northeast Oklahoma is under siege by what is apparently an unstoppable force — tiny blood worms that have infested their water supply can apparently slip by any obstacle in their path, and have so far resisted all attempts to kill them.
It's not just drinking the water that's off-limits. Residents are being told not to use the water for cooking, and not even for brushing their teeth (bathing seems to be alright, though). The town schools are closed, and even the soda fountain at the local convenience store has been shut off. There aren't any known health effects from ingesting these worms, but town officials aren't taking any chances with anyone getting sick.
These blood worms, which are the larvae of an insect called the midge fly, somehow made it past the six-feet of sand and charcoal filter the town uses to treat its water, and they are extremely tough, resisting even bleach and chlorine. They're typically found in the southeastern United States, where they favour living in polluted water, but they're not often found as far west as Oklahoma.
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As creepy as these worms are, they don't get their name from any need to consume blood. It's because of their deep red colour, which they get because their bodies contain hemoglobin — a substance in our blood cells that makes them turn red when they absorb oxygen.
Town officials in Colcord are working on this problem, hoping to not only find out where the worms came from, but also how to get rid of them. Until then, the town's residents are being supplied with bottled water for their daily needs.
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