World Bulletin / News Desk
Nearly 1,300 people have sought treatment in a hospital in Terme, a district in Samsun province, with authorities saying that they suspect possible contamination in the district's water supply network being the culprit.
On Sept. 24, large numbers of people came to Terme State Hospital, complaining of diarrhea, nausea and high fever. As the number of patients quickly started to rise, authorities suspecting water contamination sent samples from the district's drinking water supply to laboratories for testing.
Samsun Provincial Health Director Mustafa Kasapoğlu stated that they determined that the chlorine level in the drinking water was low. He said in a statement on Wednesday that the local authorities had been notified, adding that the Terme Municipality had already pumped chlorine into the water supply, normalizing its chlorine level.
A local health official on Thursday said low levels of chlorine did not necessarily indicate water contamination, adding that they were still waiting for the results of tests run on the samples.
Kasapoğlu in his statement on Wednesday further stated that the number of cases reported by hospitals was decreasing. He also said the chlorine level in the water might be high on the first few days due to the added chlorine and that this might cause side effects such as nausea or stomach pain.
However, the same local official from the public health department of the Terme District Governor's Office said no excessive levels of chlorine in the water supply had been detected. “This did not happen,” he said, adding, “The chlorine level in the water is not above normal.”
Kasapoğlu and local health officials also warned locals to boil tap water before drinking it, as some bacteria and microbes might be resistant to chlorine. However, whether the hospital rush was caused by water contamination will become clear only after test results are available, officials stated.
Meanwhile, hospital officials said that 13 children were in serious condition.