Water contamination: Over 300 people in Kochi apartment complex fall ill

Samples of water was collected from the flat by the health department. Photo: Screengrab/ Manorama News

Kochi: Nearly a month after the flood-like situation hit Kochi, a large number of people residing in a premium high-rise apartment complex in Kakkanad have fallen ill due to water contamination.

A total of 338 residents of DLF New Town Heights sought medical care after suffering vomiting and diarrhoea, reported Manorama News. Among the sick, 25 are children below the age of 5. It is learnt that around nine people are currently hospitalised. The health department has confirmed the presence of E. coli bacteria in the samples of water collected from the tank at the flat. Results of the samples collected and sent by Adv. Hareesh, a resident at the flat confirmed the presence of the bacteria in the water.

Adv Hareesh told media that over 500 people are affected with the viral infection. He pointed out that over 40 people sought medical care on Sunday alone. The resident noted that several people complained of health issues from May last. He had sent samples of water from the flat for a test on May 24. 

“ Health officials visited the flat last day only for the inspections. They directed us to use boiled water. But the situation is not under control yet. My daughters are also experiencing similar symptoms. More people are falling ill day by day,” he said.

Manorama News reported that the first case of viral infection in the flat was confirmed on June 1. The health department collected samples of the water in the flat to confirm the source of the infection. The test result of the sample collected by the department is not out yet. The District Medical Officer said the Rapid Response Team has been deployed to take necessary action and directions have been given to supply pure drinking water to the residents.

Meanwhile, the DLF flat owners association spokesperson told the media that there is no need to panic at present as actions have been taken to ensure that contaminated water is not supplied to the residents. The person claimed that the flat should not be considered as the source of infection now.

“ We can't confirm the source of infection now. Ten days back, somebody complained of health issues. There are a lot of people who consume food from hotels and use public transport. Viral infection will spread from any source. The health issue will aggravate due to contaminated water. So we can't say that the source of the infection is the flat. At present, all action has been taken to eliminate all sources of contaminated water at the flat,” said a representative of the association.

He added that water supplied by Kerala Water Authority, wells and borewells are collected in a single tank at the flat. Hence, it is difficult to identify the water source that is infected with the bacteria. He pointed out that water from tankers is being supplied to the residents at present. The DLF representatives confirmed that all patients are stable. 

It is assumed that contaminated water entered into the water source during the flash floods in the city. Incessant rain had left Kochi in a flood-like situation on May 28 and 29. Major roads and low-lying areas of the state's commercial capital were completely inundated as clogged drains blocked the flow of water.

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