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Waterborne diseases up by 50% in Amdavad

Contaminated water is giving a tough time to the city.

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Water is considered essential for life. But in Ahmedabad, it is the cause of rising waterborne diseases (jaundice and gastroenteritis) — which have witnessed a whopping 50% rise compared to last year, thanks to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) failure to provide clean drinking water.

The civic body’s weekly health report clearly shows a steep rise in waterborne diseases in the city. This month (till February 10), the city reported 145 cases of gastroenteritis and 97 cases of jaundice. Adding to the list is a total of 36 cases of typhoid. The city also reported 384 cases of gastroenteritis, 341 cases of jaundice and 114 cases of typhoid in January this year.

Now, when we compare these figures with last year’s, it clearly indicates a 50% rise in numbers. In January 2013, gastroenteritis cases stood at 248, which increased to 384 in January 2014 — indicating a rise of 54.8%. Similarly, in February 2013, 285 gastroenteritis cases registered, but in February this year (by February 10), the cases rose to 145 — indicating a rise of 50.9%.

For jaundice, the cases in January 2013 stood at 287, which increased to 341 in the same month this year. Moreover, in February 2013, 251 cases of jaundice were reported against 97 cases this month — indicating a rise of around 9%.

Asked about the rise, AMC’s in-charge medical officer of health Dr Bhavin Solanki said: “The rise in number is due to contaminated drinking water. We witness such cases mainly in slum areas where pipes are broken or people use the water pipe in a wrong manner.”

Another doctor from the AMC’s health department, requesting anonymity, said many families receive contaminated water from AMC water lines, which is the sole reason for people suffering from these diseases.

Chief gastroenterologist at Apollo hospital Dr Shravan Bohra also blamed water as the root cause for this problem. He said: “Normally, cases of gastroenteritis and jaundice are not high during this time (of the year). However, since the last two months, the cases have risen substantially. And, for this, water is a bigger culprit than food.”

He added that jaundice cases are on rise these days, only because of drinking water. If the water is contaminated due to leakages, it causes jaundice, Hepatitis A & B and typhoid as well. “For this, AMC should ensure that water supplied through these lines remains clean and uncontaminated,” said Bohra.

Another general physician Dr Mehul Shelat also opined that drinking water is the main cause for the rise in waterborne diseases.

“It is not only the polluted water in municipal lines but street foods are also responsible for the deterioration in health. The ongoing marriage season and parties are adding to such cases,” said Shelat. He said that one should preferably consume hot food and have packaged mineral water at parties or marriages.

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