E-coli outbreak in Kochi: Over 850 affected, two-year-old in critical condition

Result of analysis of water samples collected by health dept will be available on June 20.
Water for all the 1,258 apartments is supplied from a single tank
Water for all the 1,258 apartments is supplied from a single tankPhoto | Express

KOCHI: The health crisis at the DLF New Town Heights apartment complex, in Kakkanad, remained unabated with more people seeking medical aid after suffering from excessive vomiting and diarrhoea.

According to apartment sources, the number of residents who have sought treatment following the suspected E.coli outbreak has crossed 850. The result of the analysis of water samples collected by the health department will be available on Thursday.

Speaking to TNIE, Harish Menon, a resident, said, “The situation is yet to improve. It is the elderly and the children who have been affected the most. The condition of a two-year-old girl who has been admitted to the ICU of a private hospital is said to be critical.” According to him, the health crisis has affected only the 15-tower DLF complex.

“There are many flats and residential colonies adjoining our complex. Yet, we are the only ones affected. So one can easily rule out an epidemic. The situation is limited to our compound, as is the source of infection. The issue, which started some 12 days ago, was at first isolated, before it went out of hand,” Harish added.

According to Madhusoodanan Nair, president of the residents’ association, water for all the 1,258 apartments is supplied from a single tank.

“The water from KWA, borewell, open well and the rainwater harvester is all pumped into the main tank. It is then treated in the water treatment plant in the compound and then pumped to the tanks atop all the 15 towers,” he said. According to him, around 450 kilo litre water is pumped daily to all 15 towers.

However, the residential towers don’t have a reverse osmosis (RO) unit. Blaming the association for laxity in installing the RO unit, Harish said, “There was always talk of installing an RO unit. However, the present association did not get it done. All they did was add water transported in tanker lorries into the mix.”

Nikitha Roy, another resident, said that two medical units are functioning on the compound and a team of doctors and health officials is treating the affected. Residents are happy with the prompt action taken by the health minister, who on being contacted by a resident, ordered district health officials to swoop in and take stock of the situation.

The district working group of the Residents Association Coordination Council (RACO) has called for more vigil. “Strict action should be taken under the Public Health Protection Act against those who pollute drinking water. KWA distributes drinking water to the Greater Kochi area from Periyar river. The authority should come up with a foolproof scientific method to treat the water from the river before distributing it for consumption,” RACO members said.

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