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August 16, 2019

City in grip of gastroenteritis, other waterborne diseases


August 16, 2019

Despite Eid-ul-Azha and Independence Day holidays in Karachi, a large number of general physicians and gastroenterologists were summoned by public and private hospitals to conduct extra clinics due to the eruption of gastroenteritis and other waterborne diseases, health officials said on Thursday.

“Karachi is in the grip of gastroenteritis after the recent rains in which people have diarrhea, dysentery, nausea and abdominal cramps and the main cause of the health condition is use of contaminated food and water,” said Dr Sajjad Jamil, an eminent gastroenterologist associated with Liaquat National Hospital Karachi.

Dr Sajjad Jamil said that as per his information, several public and private hospitals summoned their general physicians and gastroenterologists to conduct extra clinics as a large number of people were reporting with complaints of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. He added that the majority of the patients were elderly people and children.

“Due to heavy rains in the city, sewage has mixed with drinking water in the city and now this mixture is being used for preparing food by the vendors, washing their crockery and for preparing drinks by the roadside vendors. One can easily imagine what would happen to the person drinking sewage-mixed water,” said Dr Jamil and urged the people to immediately stop dinning out and to use boiled water for drinking.

He also urged the people take extra care of their children, not let them eat from outside and also give them home-cooked food and boiled water as waterborne diseases were extremely harmful for children with weak immunity.

The eminent gastroenterologist deplored that fake bottled water companies were mushrooming in Karachi and they were supplying tap water, which was actually sewage-mixed water, to citizens in the name of mineral water. He urged the people to use boiled water to remain healthy instead of relying on water fraudsters.

“A large number of people complain that they used bottled water but still they are getting diarrhea. It means that contaminated water is being supplied to people, which should be checked by the authorities while people should use boiled drinking water,” he added.

Another eminent physician and Secretary General of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Dr. Qaiser Sajjad said Karachi was in the grip of water-borne disease since first spell of rain that lashed out at Karachi in last days of July, saying hundreds of thousands of people, including children were contracting these disease, which were preventable and treatable.

“Typhoid, especially the Extensively Drug Resistant Typhoid, Hepatitis A and E, Cholera and Gastroenteritis are the main waterborne disease, which is very common in our country and cases of these preventable ailments are on the rise in Karachi these days,” Dr Qaiser Sajjad said and urged the people to take precautionary measures, including use of boiled water for drinking water for consumption.

Also urging the people to eat home-cooked food as much as possible these days, the PMA secretary general said ice sold in the market was also very disastrous for health as it was prepared with sewage-mixed tap water.

Around three million people, including 1.2 million children, contract waterborne diseases in Pakistan annually, Dr Qaiser said deploring that of these hundreds of thousands die every year. “Fortunately, the majority of these deaths are preventable,” he added.

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