Rotavirus, astrovirus behind DLF diarrhoea outbreak, says Veena George

Water supplied to the complex from the treatment plant is not chlorinated, says Veena George
Water for the DLF New Town Heights, Kakkanad is supplied from a single tank
Water for the DLF New Town Heights, Kakkanad is supplied from a single tank Photo | Express

KOCHI: The presence of rotavirus and astrovirus in drinking water caused the diarrhoea outbreak at DLF New Town Heights, Kakkanad, said Health Minister Veena George. “Water in the overhead tank and water supplied to the complex from the treatment plant were not chlorinated and treated properly,” she said in reply to a question in the assembly. As many as 495 people were affected by the outbreak that happened in the last of June.

“We have assessed that the presence of rotavirus and astrovirus in the water led to the outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases in the DLF New Heights tower complex. The presence of coliform bacteria was confirmed in the water samples collected from various blocks of the apartment complex. It has also been found that the water in the overhead tank and the treatment plant were not properly chlorinated or treated,” she said in response to questions raised by members Kurukkoli Moideen, A K M Ashraf, P Abdul Hameed and Manjalamkuzhi Ali on Monday.

Forty-six samples of water from various sources were sent for testing following the outbreak of diarrhoea and the presence of coliform was detected in 19 of the samples for which results were received.

Water for the DLF New Town Heights, Kakkanad is supplied from a single tank
E-coli scare raises alarm over drinking water safety in Kochi

The minister said the health department, with the cooperation of the local self-government and other departments, took action to tackle the situation. “The water sources are being super chlorinated at regular intervals and proper treatment of water has been ensured. We have also directed the testing of water samples every six months and the levels of chlorine in the water were also tested and confirmed,” she said.

Following the outbreak, the Ernakulam district health department issued notices to the residents association under provisions of the Public Health Act, 2023.

At the ‘stomach’ of the matter

Rotavirus: The most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in infants and young children worldwide is spread primarily through the faecal-oral route, from person to person or indirectly through contaminated objects

Astrovirus: A common group of viruses that can cause gastroenteritis (stomach flu) in humans, other mammals, birds, and fish

E.coli: According to the World Health Organisation, E.coli bacteria are harmless, but can lead to abdominal cramps and diarrhoea, which may, in some cases, develop into bloody diarrhoea and sometimes fever and vomiting for less than ten days in most patients

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