KOTA KINABALU: Some 150 children have been treated at the Kota Belud district hospital since Mondayfor bloated stomachs and severe diarrhoea.
Nineteen of them are still warded with three new cases brought to the hospital yesterday.
The children are from four villages in the district Kampung Siasai, Kampung Menenggum, Kampung Malambai and Kampung Mandap some 100km from here.
Sabah health authorities have ruled out typhoid or cholera but suspect water-borne viruses or bacteria could have caused the childrens condition. Many parents panicked when traditional medication failed to stop their children crying and complaining about stomach aches.
She was feverish. She cried endlessly and purged continuously, said Azolin Domis, 36, cradling her daughter Natalie Nelson outside the childrens ward yesterday.
She rushed her 22-month-old daughter from Kampung Mandap to the hospital on Monday afternoon and took her home after she received outpatient treatment.
However, when Natalie did not stop crying, Azolin was forced to have her warded on Tuesday.
The childs condition has since improved.
According to Azolin, Natalie had eaten her usual meal of rice, vegetable and fish on Monday.
None of the children warded or given outpatient treatment, the oldest of whom was 12, were seriously ill.
The children did not suffer any severe dehydration nor have there been any deaths reported in the villages, said hospital director Dr Tan Bee Hwai.
Dr Tan said the children could have fallen ill because of viral infections from water or food as a kenduri had been held in one of the villages.
He said the hospital was analysing the childrens blood and stool samples while health officials had taken samples of the source of their drinking water and the food consumed since Monday.
Health officials found that the water supplied to the villages came from a treatment plant that sourced water from bore wells close to Sungai Tempasuk, which was stagnant and polluted with rubbish and human waste.