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July 15, 2019

Rains, water inundation may cause spread of serious infections


July 15, 2019

Rawalpindi : Spells of heavy rainfall in this region of the country may cause spread of serious infections including cholera, typhoid, dysentery, gastroenteritis, hepatitis A and E, shigellosis and giardiasis, an infection in the small intestine.

The repeated spells of rainfall cause water inundation inside and outside homes in a number of localities in town particularly in thickly populated and low-lying areas of the city that may cause contamination of water sources and increase the chances of spread of various infections.

Health experts say that collection of heavily contaminated water in streets and houses due to heavy rainfall and the waste water flooding out of various nullahs including Nullah Leh in town may carry Salmonella bacteria that cause Salmonella food poisoning and may develop diarrhoea, fever and abdominal cramps.

Shigellosis, also known as bacillary dysentery is caused by bacteria Shigella that is frequently found in water polluted with human faeces. Shigella infection occurs through ingestion, faecal–oral contamination. Studies reveal that fewer than 100 bacterial cells can be enough to cause an infection and dysentery that may result in destruction of the epithelial cells of the intestinal mucosa.

Experts say that the rainfalls and water inundation cause water-borne infections and increase the chances of incidences of vector-borne diseases including malaria and dengue fever along with food-borne infections.

In the existing weather conditions, individuals must take extraordinary preventive measures and keep their living space clean to avoid infections while the most important thing is to keep kitchens in ideal hygienic conditions, said Head of Department of Infectious Diseases at Holy Family Hospital Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Khan while talking to ‘The News’.

He, like many other health experts, believes that lack of awareness among public causes spread of a number of infections every year in monsoon. Good hygienic conditions can safeguard one from infections mainly caused by contaminated water and foodstuff.

Heavy rainfall and water accumulation may contaminate water at sources that increases the chances of contamination of water at tube wells but by using drinking water after boiling, individuals can avoid health hazards, said Dr. Mujeeb.

Water accumulated inside home due to heavy rainfall and flooding out of water from sewage lines must be wiped out immediately and the space should be washed with clean water as soon as possible to avoid infections, he said.

Studies reveal that the consumption of contaminated water and foodstuff may cause cholera, an infection in the small intestine caused by bacterium vibrio cholera. Its main symptoms are watery diarrhoea and vomiting that can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, and death in some cases.

Experts say that to avoid cholera and like infections, people should consume safe drinking water after bringing it to rolling boil for five minutes. Vegetables and fruits must be washed with clean water before consumption.

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