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Contaminated water at NED causing diseases

Karachi, April 17(The News): Contaminated drinking water in the NED University of Engineering and Technology has allegedly infected many students with Hepatitis A, B and C but the university authorities are trying to dispel the situation claiming that some people are trying to create panic in the university for their ulterior motives.

We talked to some students suffering from Hepatitis and they confirmed that putrid drinking water was flowing from the taps. Despite the fact that the filters are attached to the water pipes, the water has a stench and is light brown in colour. A third year student confirmed that he is infected with Hepatitis A, a water-borne disease. Three other students of his department have also been affected. According to a rough estimate the total number of affectees is 20 to 30. The student said that these filters were installed three years ago and have not been maintained properly. It is doubtful that these filters are able to make the water safe for human consumption.

We contacted Javed Aziz Khan, Registrar of the university who said that the figure given for affected students was a gross exaggeration because the maximum number of the affected students was not more than 10. He further said that only Hepatitis A was a water-borne disease and other two ailments were caused by other reasons. "University regularly checks the water for any contamination and ensures that it is always within the safest level. At times it is 0 Coliform (unit to check the water pollution level); other times it is 05-10 and quite safe for human consumption", he explained. Khan was adamant that it is not an epidemic and the university is taking necessary steps to discover the source of the disease.

Dr Farzana Siddiqui, a specialist in Internal Medicine at a local hospital said that Hepatitis A is caused by contaminated water but Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are transmitted sexually or through contamination of food. She believes that the best course of action is to check water samples carefully, begin treatment as soon as possible and study the cases of students infected by Hepatitis B and C.
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