Water from some drinking fountains in public parks may not be safe to drink and could lead to diarrhea, the Sky Post reported on Monday, citing a doctor.
Nozzles of many drinking fountains in Hong Kong, including those in Kowloon Park, Cherry Street Park, Tai Po Waterfront Park and Saigon Street Playground, were found to be rusty, the report said.
A doctor said it is advisable for people to turn on the drinking fountain for a full minute before drinking from it to avoid any bacterial contamination.
On Oct. 30, a group of 27 Pui Ching Primary School pupils suffered from diarrhea after visiting the Tai Po Waterfront Park.
The Center for Health Protection has obtained water samples from drinking fountains in the park, and results of the tests will be available in two weeks’ time, according to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which is in charge of maintaining public parks, said drinking fountains are cleaned regularly under prescribed procedures.
Dr. Tsang Tak-yin of the Hong Kong Society for Infectious Diseases said drinking fountains could spread Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, and Legionnaires’ disease.
It is important that water outlets be sterilized during the cleaning of these fountains, he said.
Tsang said users should be wary of drinking from fountains that are rusty or not frequently used. They should leave the tap on for at least one minute before drinking.
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