In 2016, India reported 709 acute diarrheal disease (ADD) outbreaks (> 25% of all outbreaks). Tribal populations are at higher risk with 27% not having accessibility to safe drinking water and 75% households not having toilets. On June 26, 2017 Pedda-Gujjul-Thanda, a tribal village reported an acute diarrheal disease (ADD) outbreak. We investigated to describe the epidemiology, identify risk factors, and provide evidence-based recommendations.
We defined a case as ≥3 loose stools within 24 h in Pedda-Gujjul-Thanda residents from June 24-30, 2017. We identified cases by reviewing hospital records and house-to-house survey. We conducted a retrospective cohort study and collected stool samples for culture. We assessed drinking water supply and sanitation practices and tested water samples for faecal-contamination.
We identified 191 cases (65% females) with median age 36 years (range 4-80 years) and no deaths. The attack-rate (AR) was 37% (191/512). Downhill colonies (located on slope of hilly terrains of the village) reported higher ARs (56%[136/243], p < 0.001) than others (20%[55/269]). Symptoms included diarrhea (100%), fever (17%), vomiting (16%) and abdominal pain (13%). Drinking water from five shallow bore-wells located in downhill colonies was significantly associated with illness (RR = 4.6, 95%CI = 3.4-6.1 and population attributable fraction 61%). In multi-variate analysis, drinking water from the shallow bore-wells located in downhill colonies (aOR = 7.9, [95% CI =4.7-13.2]), illiteracy (aOR =6, [95% CI = 3.6-10.1]), good hand-washing practice (aOR = 0.4, [95%CI = 0.2-0.7]) and household water treatment (aOR = 0.3, [95%CI = 0.2-0.5]) were significantly associated with illness. Two stool cultures were negative for Vibrio cholerae. Heavy rainfall was reported from June 22-24. Five of six water samples collected from shallow bore-wells located in downhill colonies were positive for faecal contamination.
An ADD outbreak with high attack rate in a remote tribal village was associated with drinking water from shallow downhill bore-wells, likely contaminated via runoff from open defecation areas after heavy rains. Based on our recommendations, immediate public health actions including repair of leakages at contaminated water sources and alternative supply of purified canned drinking water to families, and as long-term public health measures construction of house-hold latrines and piped-water supply initiated.