Typhoid on the rise, check bottled water cans at home, office

Bengaluru: The city is witnessing an increase in cases of typhoid, which is a serious fever transmitted through contaminated food or water.

Dr Ambanna Gowda, Consultant – Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospitals, said, “The majority offices, corporates, and homes in the city use canned water which increases chances of contamination because of lack of sanitisation of containers or improper cleaning of dispensers,” he said.

A lot of these cans might be unclean and unhygienic. There are over 150 bottled water brands in the market today, and they are supposed to get water from a source that is treated and disinfected. The water is supposed to be put through filtration, ozone treatment or reverse osmosis (RO) to make it fit for consumption. But there are many illegal manufacturing units which operate without licence and necessary standards, putting people’s health at risk.

Ramesh, an owner of SLV purified drinking water in the city, said, “We have the BIS certificate and meet the standards specified. The water is usually purified by the RO process. For example, if 10 litres of water is to be purified, 3 litres go waste to meet the standards. There is too much of wastage of water and this could be why vendors cut short the process of purification.”

A study by scientists from State University of New York found that more than 90% of bottled water worldwide, including India, contains tiny pieces of plastic.

Mr Srinidhi, a senior official and a state squad officer from Food Safety Department, said, “The BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) issues the ISI certificate to the vendor, after which FSSAI licence is issued by the Food Safety Department. If the vendor is distributing more than 2,000 litres of water then the central licence is issued. All the standards should be met by the vendor to distribute the water. The water is also tested and certified by the lab.”

An improvement notice is served if the requirements are not met or if there are any discrepancies. “If the manufacturing companies fail to stick to the standards despite the notice, then their licences are cancelled,” Mr Srinidhi said.

Experts said that as the demand for drinking water is expanding exponentially, illegal manufacturing units thrive. Strong enforcement and investigation is needed to put an end to such illegal units. On typhoid cases, Prof (Dr) L. Sreenivasa Murthy, Consultant, Internal Medicine at Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Richmond Road, said, “The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a human carrier and they spread to other people. Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking or eating contaminated food or water, which contain bacteria. People with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through stool, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. Contamination of the water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. The bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage and hence contaminated water is the commonest route of transmission. The best way to prevent this condition is to drink boiled water, eat freshly cooked food and ensure hygiene around you.”

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