Cradle pollution rears its ugly head as child is hospitalised with severe diarrhoea

A family says polluted water in the Cradle is nothing new and their son had to be hospitalised over a year ago because of it.

While Mogale City Local Municipality (MCLM) said several efforts are underway to address spillages in the Cradle of Humankind, a family has come forward sharing how pollution impacted them even before the issue was in the international spotlight.

The Krugersdorp News recently reported that the international community was concerned about the pollution of rivers in the Cradle caused by malfunctioning water waste treatment plants.

However, over a year ago, a family in Muldersdrift had to rush their child to hospital because they suspected he drank polluted water. They approached the News to share their harrowing ordeal after reading about the Cradle’s inevitable pollution problem which has made international headlines.

• Also read: Pollution in the Cradle raises international eyebrows

Sarah Crisp and her family reside in the area and claim her infant son had to be hospitalised after experiencing uncontrollable diarrhoea, vomiting and eventually blood in his stools. She stated that within the first 24 hours of diarrhoea, her son used 42 nappies that were intended to last half a month.

Crisp said that they took him to a hospital, where he was admitted and where the doctor immediately started a broad-spectrum antibiotic and anti-emetics treatment. They also took blood and stool samples for testing.

“Our little boy lost 30% of his body weight within 48 hours and was in hospital for three nights,” she said.

When the test results came back, their son was diagnosed with a shigella infection, otherwise known as Bacillary Dysentery, which according to a local medical practitioner, Dr Tom Breeweg, is a form of diarrhoea that is serious and can lead to sepsis, with symptoms like bloody stools.

“Unfortunately, our son’s school only has unfiltered tap water; likely the source of our son’s infection.”

She added the family only uses filtered water due to tests showing high levels of heavy metals in the drinking water.

“It’s so sad that children are so badly affected. We’re a family that can afford private healthcare with quick access. How many families are there in our community that are not so fortunate and what would happen to them in a case like this?”

When the News reached out to MCLM about how long the pollution has been a problem, they did not provide feedback at the time of print. Their comment will be added once received.

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