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July 30, 2009

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2,600 sickened by water supply

HEAVY rain caused contaminants to seep into the local water supply, sickening more than 2,600 people in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a health official said yesterday.

Gao Xihua, vice secretary of the Chifeng City Committee of the Communist Party of China, said yesterday that tests had shown an excessively high count of bacteria, including coliforms and salmonella, in samples taken from the water supply.

The tests support previous statements on Monday night that heavy rainfall on July 23 caused water from a nearby lake to flow into the supply system.

"The rainwater, along with dirt, was the major cause of the water pollution," Gao said.
He said 2,622 people had sought medical help for gastrointestinal illnesses after the local tap water supply was contaminated as of Tuesday night.

Patients from eight downtown communities in Chifeng complained of fever, diarrhea, stomach aches and vomiting after drinking tap water in their homes on Saturday and Sunday.

The local government started offering free medication to all victims on Monday.
The contaminated system provides tap water for Chifeng's "new city center," a 17-square-kilometer area with a population of 58,000, said Zheng Fengjun, an official of the city's Yulong Community.


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