File Photo: A view of water treatment plant in Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Out of 761 possible water poisoning cases in Egypt’s Sharqiya governorate, eight patients are still being treated, while the others have been discharged from hospitals after recovering, a health ministry official said on Sunday.
The remaining patients are expected to be released from the hospital within the next hours, Health Ministry Undersecretary Sheriff Makin told State News agency MENA.
On Friday, hundreds of residents of Al-Ibrahimiya village in Sharqiya governorate, Nile Delta, flocked to hospitals suffering from apparent poisoning from contaminated water.
On Saturday, a 51-year old man, suffering from the same symptoms, died in the hospital.
Authorities are currently investigating the outbreak, and questioning the local public water company, which has stressed that their water is safe to drink.
Several locals told Ahram 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.
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.
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.
Health 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.