Polluted Drinking Water Causes Typhoid Outbreak in Central Asia

October 24, 2003

More than 800 people are infected with typhoid in what appears to be one of the largest such incidents to strike Tajikistan in years.

"The numbers keep rising, and we are expecting it to go over 1,000," Paul Handley, the officer-in-charge of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the capital, Dushanbe, told IRIN on Thursday. He noted, however, that assistance – both international and local – had been put in place.

Health officials reportedly opted not to declare an outbreak during the Central Asian Games, which Dushanbe hosted until October 20. The delay appears to have exacerbated the epidemic.

Some experts said that the reason for the typhoid outbreak in the capital city was pollution in the Varzob river, one of Dushanbe's main water sources, caused by recent rains.

Only a few weeks earlier, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmonov hosted an international forum in connection with the United Nations Year of Freshwater. During the forum, the Tajik President called for improved management of regional water resources.

Source:

IRINnews Asia

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