E. coli bacteria in Bloemhof tap water kills infants – NICD

2014-06-06 15:45

The three infants who died in Bloemhof in North West were infected with the E. coli bacteria, a health institute has confirmed.

Hundreds more are being treated for the bacteria in the area.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed today that the bacteria, which normally lives in the intestines of humans and animals, was the main source of contamination in the tap water in the past two weeks.

Nombuso Shabalala, a representative of the NICD, said the local municipality had collected water samples and submitted them to independent laboratories for further testing.

“Water samples are also undergoing testing at the Enteric Virus and Environmental Research Unit in the Department of Medical Virology, University of Pretoria, for specific diarrhoea-causing viruses,” Shabalala said, adding that the Bloemhof community must treat diarrhoea and vomiting as soon as possible with home-made glucose.

The glucose solution is made from one litre of safe drinking water, eight teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt.

Shabalala also advised residents to purify the water by boiling it for a minute, or by adding one teaspoon (5ml) of household bleach to 20 litres of water until they receive further instructions from the municipality.

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