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Water Contamination Outbreak In Al-Furhaneih, Hail 1424H (2003G)


Uncontaminated water supply is a very important factor affecting people's health. The United Nation world water development report stressed that one of the biggest threats to health remains lack of water and poor sanitation. Much of the burden of the disease is largely preventable through better access to safe drinking water and sanitation. It was reported that an unusually large numbers of residents of a rural community of AlFurhaneih in Hail region had vomiting, fever, headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain in the period from 25-6-2003 till 12-7-2003. As a result, the Ministry of health asked for an investigation and a team from the FETP were sent to investigate this outbreak in order to suggest measures for control and prevention of recurrence.


A case control study was conducted to identify the source and impact of water contamination in AlFurhaneih Village. A questionnaire was prepared inquiring on demographic information of cases, the source of water for drinking and non drinking purposes, whether any change in taste or odor of water were noted and the signs and symptoms of the disease among affected individuals. Medical records of cases were also reviewed to identify the impact associated with the occurrence and transmission of the disease.


A total of 108 cases were reported, 62.5% were male. All cases occurred in AlFurhaneih village. The mean age of cases was 16.2 years, and the largest number of cases occurred in the 5-9 years age-group. The main symptom was fever followed by headache, 4 cases had positive specimens of Escherichia coli. Most of the cases used water tank for all purposes. There was a significant association between cases and having a ground tank (OR = 4.07, 95% CI = 1.84-9.03). In addition, there was a significant association between cases and having their water supply from a well located in AlMurma village (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 0.09-24.86).


The outbreak resulted from contaminated water that is used for drinking and non drinking purposes. It was found to be contaminated by E. coli.