A gastroenteritis epidemic has been reported in Multan after over 160 cases have been reported in the district.
District officials and health authorities are working to clean and repair water pipes in several tehsils of the area. “The water supply in several villages and housing colonies has been severely compromised and we are trying to repair the pipes. Many areas have reported that sewage water is being transported through the main water pipes and has exacerbated the disease,” said a tehsil municipal administration (TMA) officer Mehran Qazi.
According to health officials, the epidemic has been spreading throughout the district and over 100 cases have been reported in four days. “The situation is getting worse daily and the water supply needs to be cleaned. Most of the victims so far are children,” a DHQ hospital doctor said.
“There have been reports of four dengue cases at the hospital but over 60 of gastroenteritis,” said a Nishtar Hospital Dr Naseem Khan. Reports of a gastro outbreak have come in from Nishtar Hospital, Children Complex, Civil Hospital as well as the DHQ Hospital. “The official count from these hospitals so far is 160 patients but the situation may be much worse in private hospitals and medical clinics,” said Children’s Complex Dr Azhar Qayyum.
“We have been receiving reports that flood zones are also hit with the epidemic and there are lots of patients near riverine areas,” he said. “So far there are over 14 colonies and villages that have been affected after the water supply was compromised in these areas,” she added.
Tehsil officials have said that they were repairing the water pipes but until the operation was complete everyone should take special care only to drink boiled water. “Much of the water that has seeped into the pipes is standing water from ponds created by the monsoon rains. There is also sewerage water and we are working to repair the pipes,” TMA official Musab Rehman said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.