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Research Articles

Contaminated Public well water as a source of sporadic outbreak of enteric infection in Northern Sri Lanka

Authors:

C.A. Arulnesan,

Department of Community Medicine, University of Jaffna, LK
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S. Kamsan,

Department of Community Medicine, University of Jaffna, LK
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N. Rajeshkannan,

Registrar, Department of Community Medicine, University Of Jaffna, LK
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K. Sivapalan,

Associate Professor in Physiology, University of Jaffna, LK
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K Murugananthan

Senior Lecturer grade II, Division of Microbiology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna, LK
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Abstract

Introduction
Incidence of water borne diseases is high in the Jaffna district with ground water being the main source for the Jaffna population. Ensuring the quality of groundwater is therefore mandatory to prevent water borne diseases. This study was designed to describe the level of microbial contamination of public drinking water sources with selected associated factors and to assess the knowledge of the general public on transmission and prevention of waterborne diseases in the Kopay Medical Officer of Health (MOH) area.

Methods
A cross sectional, descriptive study was carried out on the quality of drinking water in the Kopay MOH area. A pretested interviewer administered questionnaire and an observation checklist were used to collect data.  Bacterial studies of well water samples were carried out in the Division of Microbiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Jaffna.

Results
Coliforms and E. coli were found to be above the Sri Lankan Standard (SLS)1 in 90% of the water samples collected from public water sources. Ninety four percent of the wells were unprotected. Of 200 participants, 57.5% (95% CI: 51.6%-65.2%) had poor knowledge on the transmission and prevention of water borne diseases. Of the 200, 174 (87 %,)  (95%CI: 81.8%-91.1%)) used unsafe water for drinking and domestic purposes. The surrounding environment was found to be a significant risk factor for contamination also found (P< 0.001, OR-29.3, 95% CI: 2.0- 423.7).

Conclusions
The majority (90%) of public water sources were microbiologically unsuitable for drinking in the Kopay MOH area. Most people consume raw water from these unacceptable water sources. It was also found that the surrounding environment is highly conducive for contamination of well water in the study area. The study participants had poor knowledge on transmission of pathogens through water and the prevention of water borne diseases.

 

How to Cite: Arulnesan, C.A. et al., (2015). Contaminated Public well water as a source of sporadic outbreak of enteric infection in Northern Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Journal of Infectious Diseases. 5(2), pp.64–72. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljid.v5i2.8090
Published on 27 Oct 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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