KOCHI: Aiming to prevent an outbreak of shigella infection, the district adminstration has decided to close down permanently hotels, bakeries and wayside eateries functioning under unhygienic conditions.After a case of the bacterial infection was reported from Chottanikkara last month, the district administration had issued a high alert to maintain hygiene. The rising number of cases with symptoms similar to Shigella is worrying the health authorities.
“The departments of health, food safety, water and groundwater have been instructed to ensure the quality of water distributed. Hotels and other eateries functioning in unhygienic conditions will be closed without warning. People too should remain vigilant,” said District Collector S Suhas.
The health department had earlier slapped closure notices on three hotels at Udayamperoor which failed to meet basic requirements.“We have constituted a team of officials to inspect and monitor the level of hygiene at hotels. Customers have to be provided with hot water,” said Jacob Thomas, assistant commissioner, food safety, Ernakulam.
He said water samples collected from different areas have been sent to the Regional Analytical Laboratory.
“We collected samples from wells, borewells and public taps around Chottanikkara, Kakkanad and Tripunithura. The lab report will be available in a few days,” the official added.
District Medical Officer N K Kuttappan said health officials have been instructed to monitor symptoms like diarrhoea, stomach ache, traces of blood and mucus in the stool reported from different parts of the district.
“We are closely monitoring the diseases reported from different parts of the district. Since the source of shigella is yet to be confirmed, we are exploring all possibilities to establish the original source,” Dr Kuttappan said.
Meanwhile, Azees Moosa, district president of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association, said they have set up an internal squad to ensure hygiene in each hotel as part of the efforts to check the spread of the disease.