The diarrhoea outbreak in Chandigarh showed no sign of abating as 30 more patients, a majority from Mauli Jagran, were examined at the Civil Hospital, Manimajra, on Tuesday.
Over 141 people have been treated at the hospital since Sunday, Gaurav Aggarwal of the Chandigarh health department told Hindustan Times.
“On Tuesday, 29 fresh cases were received at the outpatient department,” he added.
According to Dr Arun Bansal, in charge of the hospital, “Around 30 patients reported at the OPD.”
Patients were found lying in corridors of the hospital’s emergency ward when HT visited. “They have been coming in from the last three to four days complaining of abdominal pain, vomiting and loose motions. Some were unconscious,” a doctor said.
“While adults are coping, children and the elderly people have had severe infection,” he added.
When asked if all the cases were are from Mauli Jagran, another doctor on duty said, “In the morning around 10 people from Mauli Jagran were admitted to the hospital. Three to four patients were from Indira Colony, Manimajra.”
On the possibility of water contamination, Tanya Silvi,a patient from Mauli Jagran, said “What came out of the taps looked like soap water. It had foam.” Though she boiled the water before drinking it she and her son fell ill.
Shahzad Ali of Indira Colony, too, said people in the area got water with foul odour at least once a month, “but this time it kept stinking.”
However, 50 water samples collected during the morning and evening supply in the affected areas by the health wing of the municipal corporation (MC) were found fit for consumption.
Blockage in internal sewer chambers in homes, which residents were duty bound to clean, could have created the problem, MC officials said.
Meanwhile, city mayor Davesh Moudgil and MC Commissioner K K Yadav visited the Mauli Jagran area, stopping at the Civil Hospital on the way.
The team also inspected the tube well from which water was supplied to the Mauli Jagran area, checking chlorine levels, the cover of the water tank which HT reported missing yesterday, and visited homes where diarrhoea cases had been reported.
To contain the outbreak, workers of the public health wing of the MC have also in the last three days visited over 5,000 houses and detected 141 cases. About 1,000 ORS sachets (to prevent dehydration) and 2,000 chlorine tablets have been distributed.
On Monday, 35 water samples were taken for hydrogen sulphide (a chemical hazard in natural gas production due to decay of organic material) test and 78 more samples were collected on Tuesday.
While a number of patients complained that no fans or air-conditioners had been provided at the hospital, the hospital staff swung into action when the Chandigarh mayor came visiting. As sweepers quickly mopped the floors, guards asked attendants not to stand near the patients.