Nearly 30 residents of Niamiwala village (also known as Behbal Khurd) of Faridkot district, who complained of vomiting, diarrhoea, pain in abdomen and blood in stool had to be admitted to three government hospitals of the district on Sunday.
Almost all of them are from dalit families of the village and most of them were children. About 12 patients were admitted to the community health centre, Bajakhana, six at Jaitu and 8 were admitted to the civil hospital in Kotkapura, from where four had to be referred to Guru Gobind Singh medical college here. A 2-year-old child is also among them.
"We were informed of the situation during Saturday night and we immediately rushed our teams there to take the patients to CHC Bajakhna. 12 patients are still admitted here and their condition is stable," said Dr Avtarjeet Gondara, in-charge of the CHC.
"Eight patients were admitted to Kotkapura civil hospital. The patients complained of vomiting, diarrhoea, pain in abdomen besides some other complications. We had referred four patients to Faridkot hospital and four others are admitted in the hospital. But the condition of all the patients is stable," said Dr Gaji Ujjair, SMO, civil hospital, Kotkapura.
"I have personally visited all the hospitals where the patients are admitted and the village. Our teams are carrying out a survey in the village and we have advised the village people to use boiled water. Samples of drinking water have been taken from the village water works.
But the real cause of the ailment could be ascertained after reports of blood samples of the patients," said Dr Surinder Kumar, district health officer, who also holds the charge of civil surgeon here.
"Four children from Jaitu hospital and two from the medical college here have been discharged after they recovered. Only 20 patients are in hospitals at present," he added.
Though the possible cause of the problem is yet unknown, yet the villagers point it towards the alleged possible contamination of drinking water as all of the patients are from dalit familes.
"Water pipes in the village were found to be leaking at three places in the village. Besides, most of the dalit families were also using water stored in water tanks at home," said a village resident.
The health department sources also suspect that some stale food could be behind the ailment as there was some function in the village four days ago and they suspect that some stale food could have been eaten by them.
"I have rushed the health department and public health department teams to the village and asked them to take samples of water etc. The real cause of the problem would be clear after reports of blood samples. However, the condition of all the patients is stable," said Mohammad Tayyab, Faridkot deputy commissioner.