Officials blame water contamination; samples sent for testing

Twenty-two residents of a home for destitute girl children in Bharatinagar have been admitted to the CSI Hospital on Queen's Road and the Epidemic Diseases Hospital (Isolation) on Old Madras Road after they reported symptoms of gastroenteritis (GE). They are all in a stable condition, though 18 are being investigated for cholera.

These girls (aged between 5 and 16), residents of New Life Centre for Girls located on Memorial Street in Bharatinagar, started complaining of diarrhoea and vomiting from Wednesday.

While six were taken to the CSI Hospital on Wednesday, 16 were admitted on Thursday.

Doctors at the CSI Hospital refused to give any information, but BBMP Chief Health Officer L.T. Gayatri confirmed that of the 22 girls, 18 had been referred to the Isolation Hospital.

Results awaited

“While preliminary investigations (hanging drop tests) conducted by CSI doctors reveal that the18 are suffering from cholera, culture sensitivity tests for Vibrio cholerae are being done to ascertain it,” she said.

Water contamination

Attributing the problem to water contamination, Ms. Gayatri said: “We inspected the centre and found seepage of sewage from the toilet chamber to the sump. BWSSB officials have collected water samples and sent them to the Public Health Institute for tests.”

New Life Centre Supervisor Nirmala Vasanthkumari told The Hindu that of the 65 residents, six complained of vomiting and diarrhoea on Wednesday and 16 on Thursday.

“All of them had the usual sambar and rice for dinner. But when they complained of vomiting and diarrhoea, we immediately called the doctors from CSI Hospital as our centre is run by the Karnataka Central Diocese of CSI. The girls were taken to the hospital in batches in 108 ambulances,” she said. “We also called the BWSSB officials who inspected and told us that there is seepage of sewage water into our sump from the toilet chamber.

“They disconnected the water supply line and have supplied water by a tanker on Thursday. They have asked us to get a new sump constructed on another location and we have already conveyed this to our project officials,” she said.

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