Presence of coliform bacteria confirmed in Kochi DLF water samples

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Kochi: The presence of coliform bacteria has been confirmed in water samples collected from the DLF apartment complex at Kakkanad where a diarrhoea outbreak was reported recently.

Kerala's Health Minister Veena George on Thursday said that test results of three samples had confirmed the presence of the bacteria. The samples were collected from overhead tanks, bore wells, domestic taps, wells and water-supplying tanker lorries.

Of the 46 samples sent for tests, the preliminary reports of 19 have been received. The bacteria's presence has been identified in several of the 19 samples, the minister informed in a statement.

Coliform bacteria are organisms in the environment and in the faeces of all warm-blooded animals and humans. Coliform bacteria will not likely cause illness. However, their presence in drinking water indicates that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in the water system.

The minister said the available reports suggest that the quality of the drinking water is poor. She said the health department has been conducting super chlorination of the water sources. From Thursday, the department has started testing water samples from different flats twice a day to check the level of chlorine.

There are 4,095 residents in 15 towers of the flat complex. As many as 492 people have had symptoms so far.

The District Medical Officer has issued a notice to the flat's residents association based on sections of the Kerala Public Health Act 2023 and IPC.

The health department, in its notice, has ordered the residents association to completely avoid the distribution of contaminated water and ensure the supply of clean water from authorised agencies. The association has also been instructed to conduct super chlorination in regular intervals and get samples tested from government-authorised labs. The reports of the tests have to be submitted to the authorities concerned as and when required.

Two samples from two people under treatment have been sent to the Regional Public Health Lab and National Institute of Virology’s Alappuzha unit for tests. Medical camps have been organised by the health department in collaboration with the General Hospital and private hospitals in Ernakulam district to provide emergency care to those with symptoms.

District Medical Officer Dr K Sakeena visited the flat complex and held a review meeting and gave instructions for emergency measures. An emergency meeting was held by District Collector Umesh N S K to assess the situation. Deputy Collector (Disaster Management) Abbas V V, officials of the Pollution Control Board and officials of the Government Medical College’s community medicine department visited the spot and took stock of the situation.

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