37 tribal kids take ill after drinking contaminated water

Tribal Development Commissionerate ordered an inquiry into complaints of gastroenteritis among 37 children after they drank contaminated water.

Mumbai: The Tribal Development Commissionerate Thursday ordered an inquiry into complaints of gastroenteritis among 37 children after they drank what is suspected to be contaminated water in Dhule district of Maharashtra, officials said.

The children, including 13 girls, were all at the Kasturba Adivasi Ashram School in Tavkheda village, Dhule district, around 350 km north of state capital Mumbai. They have been put under medical observation after they complained of acute diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and other problems.

Doctors from Dhule Medical College have been directed to collect water samples from the borewells and tankers which supply drinking water to the school, which runs classes from class I to X.

The incident came to light early Wednesday, after many children started vomiting after they drank water in the school. A team of seven doctors from Dhule District Health Hospital (DDHH) set up camps to administer spot treatment to the affected children in the school premises.

Three children with very severe symptoms were rushed to Dhule Civil Hospital and seven others are under observation at the Nardana government health centre nearby.

DDHH chief Arvind More told reporters that on Wednesday, only 34 children showed symptoms of diarrhoea; three more children showed symptoms Thursday.

Water samples and medical samples have been sent for chemical analysis to determine the exact cause of the sudden illness in such a large number of children simultaneously. Cholera was ruled out.

Meanwhile, as a precaution, school authorities have stopped using the borewell and tanker water supplied to the school, and are making arrangements to install a water purifier system in the ashram.