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Contaminated water makes 900 pupils, teachers sick

MORE THAN 900 students and teachers at the Bangkok Christian College (BCC) have come down with acute diarrhoea over the past month, due very likely to contamination in the school's underground water tanks.

The college administrators said that as of now, they have solved the contamination problem.

"We closed the school for four days to clean up and improve our drinking-water system," BCC deputy director Penjun Wattanamongkhon said at a press conference yesterday.

The school was closed from last Saturday to Tuesday.

According to Dr Sopon Iamsirithavorn, director of Disease Control Centre 1, samples showed that the drinking water in the school and ice were contaminated with Norovirus and Rotavirus, which are known to cause gastrointestinal tract problems.

"They are common causes of diarrhoea. Usually, they don't cause any other severe symptoms or death," Sopon said.

Sinking Bangkok to blame

Penjun said further checks showed that the contamination had taken place in the underground water tanks.

"There are some cracks in the tanks due to Bangkok's land subsidence," she explained. "Now, we have relocated our tanks to the ground level".

Disease Control Department's deputy director-general Opas Karnkawinpong said as many as 846 students and 70 teachers had developed acute diarrhoea between May 14 and last Friday.

"These patients account for 15 per cent of the school's total population," he said, adding that after relevant authorities were alerted, detailed inspections were conducted to identify the source of the problem.

He said that though relevant parties were sure they had completely removed the cause of the contamination, they planned to closely monitor the students and teachers' health for another week or two.


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