File Photo: A view of water treatment plant in Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)
A 51-year-old man in Egypt's Sharqiya governorate died from poisoning symptoms on Saturday in a suspected case of water contamination, although the local public water company has stated that the water supply is safe.
On Friday, at least 379 others were hospitalised in the governorate complaining of symptoms relating to poisoning or contamination.
Officials from the provincial water company have denied that water is the cause.
On Saturday, the governorate's health directorate issued a report saying that one man had died of the symptoms, Al-Ahram Arabic reported. Several other patients remain ill in hospital. At least 192 patients have been discharged so far.
Several locals told Al-Ahram Arabic on Friday that they believe the symptoms were caused by drinking tap water, with some of them saying the water had smelled strange before the incident broke out.
The poisoning cases come a few days after a barge carrying 500 tons of phosphate capsized in the Nile in Upper Egypt’s Qena governorate after colliding with the foundations of the city's Dandara Bridge.
Egypt’s water and irrigation minister denied Friday that the sickness in Sharqiya was connected with the sinking of the barge.
Minister Hossam Moghazi stated that the Nile River passes seven cities between Qena and Sharqiya and none of these cities had reported any cases of water poisoning.
Reports of water poisoning are not uncommon in Egypt.
In October 2014, around 100 people were poisoned in a similar incident in Sharqiya. Some blamed the illnesses on the drinking water, but officials at the time said the water was clean.