Outbreaks of cholera and hepatitis A in Ukraine blamed on poor water quality.

Local authorities in a Ukrainian resort have tried to hush up a cholera outbreak, news sources say, while 20 people have been hospitalised with hepatitis A in a separate case of water contamination.

According to a report by the Russian television station, NTV International, several cases of cholera have been documented in the Sakskyy district of the resort island of Crimea, popular with Ukrainian and foreign tourists alike. However, local officials are keeping the cases of people recovering in a nearby hospital in strict secrecy, the television station reportedly says.

According to a local epidemiologist, eight environmental samples taken recently contained the cholera vibrio, and an emergency sanitary-epidemiological commission has been set up in Sakskyy district, aimed at identifying the source of the outbreak. However, local people interviewed are certain that the water supply is to blame, saying that pipes next to a bog have burst and not been fixed. The village of Varesayevo has been quarantined and street trading of fruit, vegetables and dairy products, banned.

However, the report says, because only local villagers are aware of the problem, food is still being sold to other touristic communities nearby, who are unaware of possible risk of contamination. The local council chairman is quoted as saying that it makes no difference to warn people of possible dangers. “Does this mean that everybody should put on gas masks?” he reportedly said.

In the west of the country, in a village outside the second city of L’viv, a hepatitis outbreak which has resulted in 20 people being sent to hospital, has been blamed by medical officials on well water contaminated by sewage. Sanitation workers are working in the area to keep the outbreak from spreading.

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