Contaminated water downs 56 in Benguet village

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Fifty-six residents of a village in Atok, Benguet were rushed to hospital during the first week of the year in what was initially suspected to be a case of mass food poisoning but which health officials later attributed to contaminated water used for cooking.

The Benguet Provincial Health Office immediately responded, coordinating with the municipal government to ensure tanks used to store water are safe and remind residents about proper sanitattion.

Of those afflicted, all residents of Sito Inaba, Barangay Pasdong, 40 needed admission to the Atok District Hospital while one needed to be transferred to the Benguet General Hospital. The remaining 15 needed only out-patient treatment. Thirty of the patients were female, and 22 male, with ages ranging from 1.6 o 83 years old.

Dr. Nora Ruiz, the provincial health officer, explained that tests on samples showed the tank of the community church from which the water used to cook the chicken eaten by the victims had been drawn had been contaminated by amoeba.

Since the community draws its water from a running creek, Ruiz surmised that the tank itself was likely contaminated.

All confined patients had been discharged by Monday, January 8.