Suspected water contamination kills 10 Cambodians - and 120 are still ill

Patients, sickened from drinking water, lie on the beds in a hospital at Kratie province in Phnom Penh. (Cambodia National Police via AP)
Patients, sickened from drinking water, lie on the beds in a hospital at Kratie province in Phnom Penh. (Cambodia National Police via AP)

Ten Cambodian villagers have died and 120 others have been sickened after drinking water suspected to be contaminated with insecticide, a health official said on Sunday.

The dead and sickened villagers exhibited the same symptoms including breathing problems, dizziness, vomiting and chest pains, said the head of the Kratie Provincial Health Department, Chhneang Sivutha.

He said villagers began getting sick on Thursday.

Health authorities have collected water and food samples from the two villages and are awaiting laboratory results.

The deputy provincial police chief, Chhim Sokhim, suspected rainwater from nearby farms that use insecticide had come into contact with a stream where villagers collect water used for drinking and cooking.

Outbreaks of food and water poisoning are not uncommon in Cambodia, where health checks are rare and safety regulations lax.

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