Health officials urge city denizens to be cautious about the water they drink

  • The detection of cholera in the Valley--much before monsoon sets in--is alarming, they say
- ARJUN POUDEL, Kathmandu

May 15, 2019-

Water from all sources—including bottled water, the well and from tankers—in the house of a patient was recently found to have been infected with coliform and E. coli, which has raised concerns among health experts about the quality of drinking water in the city.

The National Public Health Laboratory which collected water samples and carried out tests as per the instructions of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division found the presence of hazardous microbes in the water at excessive levels.

The division had directed the laboratory to carry out tests after a 45-year-old man from Kathmandu was infected with Vibrio cholera 01 ogawa serotype.

The man was taken to Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku after he complained of continuous loose bowel movement, nausea, vomiting and headache.

The hospital confirmed that it was a cholera case and then reported it to the division.

Health experts said the detection of the deadly bacterial disease even before the onset of monsoon should be a major cause for concern.

“The family was using jar water for drinking, tanker water for cooking and well water for washing,” said Sambhu Gyawali, chief of the surveillance and research section at the division. “But we found all water samples contaminated with bacteria.”

The division has issued a circular to all concerned agencies—Kathmandu Metropolitan City, its ward offices, Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited and others—about the presence of coliform and E coli in the water sources and asked them to launch an awareness drive.

In water-scarce Kathmandu,  many people use jar water for drinking. But before drinking it, one must ensure that water is safe before drinking, says Purna Chandra Osti, the spokesperson for the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control.

“People think that jar water is safe to drink and they generally do not question its quality, but our findings show otherwise,” said Osti. “This year alone we shut down 55 water purifying companies and filed cases against 33 other companies.”

Dr Sher Bahadur Pun of the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital said that the detection of cholera in the dry season is alarming. He said that people should remain more cautious during the monsoon season, which is about to start, as thousands of people get infected with waterborne diseases—diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis ‘A’, ‘E’ and others—during the rainy season.

Tista Prasain, a scientific officer at the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, said that one should also be careful with their eating and sanitation habits. “Concerned agencies and stakeholders should focus on hygienic eating and sanitation habit,” said Prasain.


Published: 16-05-2019 06:30

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