17 hospitalised with dysentery, vomiting Monday, March 12, 2001
AHMEDABAD: Twenty-five-year-old Manoj Kumar's blood pressure dipped abnormally as he was rushed to VS Hospital. Suffering from severe dehydration due to dysentery and vomiting since late Saturday, Kumar's condition is stated to be critical.
Kumar is one among 17 other residents of Mataji na Chabbra near Ashram Road who were hospitalised early on Sunday with complaints of dysentery and vomiting. The doctors, on their part, are mystified about the cause of this disorder.
"Mataji na Chhabra is dominated by people from UP who work as contract labourers. Often they are found indulging in intoxicants and their physical disorder could have been caused after consuming bhaang during Holi," reasoned chairman of the health committee of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Narendrabhai Bhrambhatt.
Following reports of the disorder, which could be caused due to anything from food poisoning to water contamination or even intake of polluted intoxicants, Mayor Himmatsinh Patel, Brambhatt along with senior officials of AMC's medical wing rushed to VS Hospital on Sunday.
Subsequently, a special ward for emergency treatment of the 17 patients, all aged between 22 to 40 years, some of whom are still in critical condition, was set up by the authorities.
"Preliminary and emergency arrangement for treatment is satisfactory," said Himmatsinh.
"All victims are males and show symptoms that point to food poisoning or consumption of something that is spurious. I have asked the doctors to conduct an inquiry into the causes and am expecting a report by Monday," added Patel.
VS Hospital superintendent Dr MH Makwana, on the other hand, believes that stomach upset could have been caused due to intake of polluted water.
"Though the patients could be showing similar symptoms they are not from the same family and neither did they go to any party together. So the chances of food poisoning are next to nil. That they did not show any signs of intoxication when admitted also rules out the probability of spurious liquor or bhaang. The only possibility is water contamination. However, we are examining the patients and will soon arrive at the actual cause of the disorder," says Dr Makwana.
Dr Makwana's claim gains credence in light of the recent 52 cases of jaundice due to consumption of polluted water reported at various private nursing homes and hospitals in the Gomtipur area in eastern parts of the city.
The AMC has deployed three water tankers in the area where the localities are apprehensive of consuming polluted water. A mobile dispensary has also been pressed into service.
Deputy municipal commissioner (East Zone) TG Jhalawadia said, "We have collected over 150 samples of water from different areas of Gomtipur. Of these four samples turned out to be unfit for drinking after laboratory tests were conducted. However, on running a second check two water samples were cleared while two others are now being tested again."
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