Ordinary motor pumps meant to increase water pressure in households in the village of Bilgay near Mansoura led to seepage of contaminants into drinking water and are believed to be the reasons why there was a salmonella outbreak in the Daqahliya governorate, the Ministry of Health told The Daily Star Egypt.
Contamination of drinking water by raw untreated sewage caused last week’s salmonella outbreak in Mansoura, the Ministry of Health added. Health Minister Hatem el Gabali said residents fell ill after drinking contaminated water which contained high levels of bacteria.
The proximity of fresh water pipes and the raw sewage system, particularly when fresh water pipes run close to the sewage drains, poses a serious threat, especially if there is a leak or breakage in the pipes.
Other homes which are not tributaries of the main water source – the Mansoura water station – store water in tanks on the roof, which they draw through a pipe from an underground source. This is an unsafe method of keeping water and thus more liable to be contaminated, the ministry said.
Amin Hassan, the General Manager of Mansoura Fever Hospital, told the Daily Star Egypt that there were 107 cases admitted to the hospital during the outbreak, one of whom died as a result of the poisoning.
The first reported case at the Mansoura Fever Hospital was on Oct. 8. The first and only fatality – of 18 year old Sherihan Mohammed Mamdouh – was reported the following day.
The Ministry of Health told The Daily Star Egypt there were no new cases of salmonella bacterial poisoning since Oct.16. Hassan said the last two reported cases were discharged from the hospital yesterday.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said there had been no cholera outbreak in Mansoura as first reported in the press. However, the WHO office declined to comment for this report.