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Waterborne diseases break out in port city's Halishahar

Pankaj Dastider | May 05, 2018 00:00:00

CHATTOGRAM, May 4: An outbreak of waterborne diseases like diarrhea and jaundice in the city's Halishahar area has created a sense of anxiety among the people as 31 cases of the maladies have been detected by a team of medical experts from Dhaka.

The cases of the diseases were detected at Eidgao Boubazar, Sabujbag, Uttar Agrabad, Rongipara, Shantibag and I Block of Halishahar.

The experts' team has collected samples of blood from the affected people for examination. A five-member team of medical experts from the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) headed by Virology Department Assistant Professor Dr Manjur-E Elahi arrived in the port city on Tuesday.

Sources at the Chattogram Civil Surgeon's Office said they have started distribution of 0.2 million water purifying tablets and 0.1 million packs of oral rehydration saline in the affected area.

They have already opened a control room (phone number: 01816-031121) and asked people to communicate over the number.

Civil Surgeon of Chattogram Dr Azizur Rahman Siddiqui confirmed the steps taken by his office as immediate measures.

The office will open a three-day temporary medical camp at Government Urban Dispensary at Halishahar I Block on Sunday to provide free medical tests and free treatment. The civil surgeon said 25 people were detected with diarrhea and jaundice at different places of Halishahar on Wednesday.

Besides, nearly 500 residents of Halishahar, including members of the Bangladesh Army, have been affected by diarrhea, typhoid and jaundice.

Dr Aziz told the FE that many of the patients have been admitted to different hospitals in the city.

They have been reportedly suffering from the waterborne diseases for the last one and a half months. The experts' team assumed that consumption of rotten and stale food from the roadside makeshift stalls accompanied with dirty water, beverages and sherbets has caused these diseases.

As many as 302 patients were admitted to the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) at Fouzderhat of Sitakunda upazila of the district.

Patients blamed the spread of waterborne diseases on drinking water supplied by Chattogram WASA but the WASA authority brushed aside the allegation saying the water supplied by them has no bacteria.

The civil surgeon also confirmed that not all of the affected persons use the water supplied by the WASA because there are some areas which still do not have connections of WASA supply.

Managing Director of the Chattogram WASA Engineer AKM Fazlullah said the outbreak of diarrhea and jaundice might have taken place because of drinking water collected from open spaces or drinking water from unclean water tanks.

He said the WASA uses bacteria killing chlorine in their water to keep the water purified. Besides, the field workers of the WASA have collected samples of water from the street hydrants and water pipes connected to the houses at Eidgao Boubazar, Rongipara of North Agrabad, Shantibag and Halishahar I Block.

The WASA authority has not found any bacteria in the water samples, he said.

"It is our duty to supply pure drinking water. If anybody wants to learn if the WASA-supplied water is free from bacteria we will again collect samples and show them the result of laboratory test," he said.

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