Officials asked to check water sources

Health authorities here have admitted that there has been a serious outbreak of jaundice in many parts of the district.

However, they claim that the disease is well under control. According to the department’s disease surveillance programme cell, 120 jaundice cases were reported in January, 130 in February, and 136 in March,

Many cases have been reported this month also.

A Health official denied reports that there had been a deliberate attempt by the department to play down outbreak of the disease and that not all cases had been put on record so as not to create an alarm.

Experts, however, believe that unless effective action is taken to check pollution of water sources, the incidence of water-borne diseases would go up in coming days.

Health inspectors in all panchayats have been instructed to prevent pollution of rivers and wells from which water is supplied to hotels and households in water-deficient places, these sources said.

No to ice sticks

At a meeting attended by District Collector K.V. Mohan Kumar and Health officials on Thursday, it was decided to inspect ice plants and close down those which were not working in hygienic condition. Mr. Mohan Kumar said the decision was taken since a main source of jaundice had been found to be ice manufactured in unhygienic condition. The Collector asked teachers and parents to discourage children from eating ice sticks and to ensure that ice used to prepare soft drinks in wayside stalls was clean. A traditional physician who has been treating jaundice patients with an efficacious herbal medicine, the formula for which she had learned from her father, told The Hindu that she had been getting patients almost every day this year.

Health inspectors of the department have at many places been trying to enforce provisions of Public Health Act. In Mavoor and Thamarassery, tanker lorries which were transporting water drawn from polluted water sources to water-deficient areas had been seized.

There has been grave concern at incidence of jaundice in Omassery, Thamarassery, Nadapuram, Mukkom, Chendamangaloor, Karassery, Kodiyathoor, Nadapuram, and Kuttiadi. It is consumption of untreated water that causes jaundice and similar water-borne diseases.

Health officials point out that better compliance with guidelines given by health inspectors would help check the disease. Though people are being advised to drink only water that is boiled and cooled, many ignore the advice and continue to use untreated water from public taps making themselves vulnerable to water-borne diseases.

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