Hundreds hospitalized in Egypt in suspected contamination

Hundreds of people in northern Egypt were hospitalized after they reportedly consumed contaminated wate

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Hundreds of people in northern Egypt were hospitalized on Friday after they reportedly consumed contaminated water, a report by Ahram Online said.

The victims including women and children were rushed to neighboring hospitals, state-run MENA news agency reported.

“Authorities are analyzing samples of drinking water and suspected food items to identify the cause of the poisoning,” provincial health ministry official Sherif Makien told MENA.

“Up to 379 people in Sharqiya showed symptoms of poisoning, of which 192 patients had been discharged from hospital,” health minister Adel Adaway stated on Friday afternoon according to Ahram Online.

Adaway stated that it would take at least three days to determine the cause of the symptoms through testing samples from sick patients.

The MENA report also cited that a victim named Mohamed Shehata saying that “his wife and his 10-year-old daughter had suddenly become ill with vomiting and severe diarrhea.”

“When they went to a local hospital, they discovered that dozens of the city’s residents were also hospitalized with the same symptoms,” the report added.

The water had smelled weird before the incident, said locals to the Arabic Al-Ahram newspaper website, and blamed the tap water for the sickness.

Some mosques had warned against drinking tap water, saying it was “saturated with toxic substances,” said resident Ibrahim Abdel-Azzim in the report.

Provincial water official from the governorate’s drinking water and sanitation company, Shaker Aabdel-Fattah stated that tap water is not the source of the problem.

Sample tests of the tap water showed that the proportions of chlorine and turbidity at a normal level, Shaker explained.

According to reports, local residents had complained in the past about the water being mixed with sewage.

A similar incident occurred in 2014, where 100 people were poisoned blaming the water, as officials claimed the water was clean.