TEL AVIV (Jul. 17)
The Health Ministry today identified the seepage of raw sewage into the drinking water supply as the cause of a dysentary epidemic that hit towns in the Haifa Bay area in the last few days.
The Ministry’s Department of Public Health and Hygiene has not yet pinpointed the site of the seepage but officials said the most serious danger is over. The water supply in the affected area has been bypassed and all regional water supplies have been chlorinated.
About 2,500 cases of dysentary have been reported in recent days, 80 percent of them among children. About 100 new patients were treated in hospitals and clinics today, much fewer than the daily figure earlier in the week.
There were some isolated cases in Haifa itself. The Health Ministry’s Director General, Dr. Dan Michaeli, said those were not due to contaminated water but the result of physical contact between Haifa residents and people from the affected towns. He urged everyone in the region to boil their drinking water and pay particular attention to personal hygiene.