At a time when the health authorities are struggling to contain the spread of cholera in Kathmandu Valley, strains of the deadly disease have been found in drinking water samples collected from various Valley localities.
The deadly bacteria is found not only in water supplied by Kathmandu Upyataka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), the utility which supplies water through household taps, but also in other sources such as stone spouts and tankers.
The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) under the Department of Health Services (DoHS) said that even E.coli and coli form bacteria were found in jar water, which is considered purified and safe to drink. E.coli and coli form bacteria are to be found in human feces and cause diarrhea.
“We have found cholera bacteria in drinking water supplied by KUKL, water from stone spouts and water supplied by tankers,” Dr Gunanidhi Sharma, chief of the epidemiology section at EDCD, said adding that even jar water and water collected from boring and wells is not safe to drink. He informed that 01 Ogawa type cholera has been detected in water samples collected from areas where the disease has already spread.
EDCD has collected water samples from various cholera-affected areas of Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts to determine whether the drinking water used by the public is safe to drink or not. Out of 160 water samples collected from Lalitpur district recently, strains of the bacteria have been detected in samples from Banglamukhi, Okubahal and Sunakothi.
According to Dr Sharma, the disease was also detected in stone spout water collected at Banglamukhi, tanker water at Okubahal and water supplied by KUKL at Sunakothi.
“Over 90 percent of water in the capital city is contaminated by hazardous bacteria like E.coli and coliform,” informed Dr Sharma. Officials at KUKL have urged the public not to rely fully on the quality of water supplied by the utility during the monsoon. During the rainy season floodwater may contaminate the water sources.
EDCD informed that 139 people so far have been found infected with cholera in the capital this monsoon. The majority of the infected are from Lalitpur.
Dr Sharma also informed that 01 Ogawa type cholera has been detected in most of the diarrheal patients. Thousands of diarrheal patients have received treatment at various health facilities in the capital this monsoon.
Meanwhile, EDCD officials claimed that they have launched a door-to-door campaign to make the public better aware of the disease.