Over 300 in apartment complex in Kerala seek treatment for food poisoning

Over 300 people, including children, living in an apartment complex in Kakkanad near here sought treatment for food poisoning in the last couple of days, prompting municipal and health authorities to inspect the water sources used by the residents of the flats.
Food poisoning in Kakkanad, Kochi
Food poisoning in Kakkanad, Kochi

Kochi | Over 300 people, including children, living in an apartment complex in Kakkanad near here sought treatment for food poisoning in the last couple of days, prompting municipal and health authorities to inspect the water sources used by the residents of the flats.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Tuesday said that she was informed a day ago by some residents of the apartment complex in Thrikkakara municipality that over the last few days, several hundred people have fallen sick there.

"I immediately ordered an inspection of the area by health officials and a medical team from Ernakulam visited the apartment complex and examined all their water sources. They also spoke to residents and took a list of the people who fell sick and sought treatment in private hospitals," she said.

The minister said that it appears to be a serious issue as there have been instances of water contamination in the recent past in the city and thousands of families are living in the apartment complex.

The Directorate of Health Services has been asked to take steps in accordance with the public health protection laws, she said.

"Though flat residents told me that over 700 people fell ill, as per official reports received from the health department, around 340 people sought treatment and five are hospitalised presently," the minister said.

She also said the people sought treatment in different private hospitals and therefore, the cases were not reported.

"However, those taking care of the day-to-day running of the apartment complex had the responsibility of informing the health authorities about the issue. Therefore, there has been a violation of the norms and the officials have been asked to take appropriate action against that as well," George said.

The municipal authorities said the results of one round of tests of the water samples taken from the complex on Monday were not available yet, the apartments' association claimed that water contamination may not be the reason for the food poisoning cases.

A member of the association told reporters on Tuesday that hundreds of families order food from outside or go out to eat, use public facilities and therefore, could have picked up the infection from somewhere else.

At the same time, he also said that all water sources in the apartment complex were being tested, water tankers were being used to meet the residents' needs and the testing will continue till it is clear that there is no contamination.

"Whatever has happened, has been rectified. There is no need to panic. I would request all of you (media) to help us by reducing the level of anxiety that is there," he further said.

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