/ 9 November 2007

Over 500 suffering from diarrhoea in Delmas

A total of 532 cases of diarrhoea have been recorded in Delmas, Mpumalanga, and there was still no clarity on the cause, the Water Affairs and Forestry Department said on Friday.

On Thursday, 63 cases were reported, said spokesperson Linda Page. To date there was no conclusive evidence positively linking the rise in diarrhoea cases to the quality of drinking water.

This follows investigations conducted jointly by the department’s drinking water quality regulation unit and scientists from the Universities of Johannesburg and Pretoria and Rand Water.

”All standard microbiological indicator tests performed on municipal water supplies produced results that confirmed the safety of tap water … ”

The department was, however, still awaiting scientifically advanced analyses to completely rule out tap water as a possible cause.

The water extracted from all boreholes was disinfected before being distributed.

Residents were again encouraged to boil drinking water and to keep children and livestock away from the ”contaminated” stream that flowed through the town.

They were also asked not to allow water to stagnate and to wash their hands regularly.

On October 30 it was reported that the Nkangala area of Delmas had been hit by an outbreak of diarrhoea.

”Under normal circumstances, 10 cases of diarrhoea are reported in a week, but we treated 47 people last week and 26 yesterday [Thursday],” said provincial health department spokesperson Mpho Gabashane. – Sapa