The number of diarrhoea cases caused by water contamination in Mufulira has risen to 600, Town Clerk Charles Mwandila has said.
Last week, 300 people in Mupambe Township in Mufulira were reported to have suffered stomach complications after consuming suspected contaminated water.
Mr Mwandila who was giving an update said in an interview yesterday that the number of people that had been treated in health centres had by yesterday doubled from the previous 300 reported at the weekend.
Mupambe Township had continued to record cases of severe diarrhoea resulting from the contamination of piped water supply to the area about a week ago.
A mobile health centre has since been set up in Mupambe to attend to urgent cases.
"The number of people going to the heath centres which include the emergency one put up in Mupambe, Ronald Ross and the council clinic have been increasing," Mr Mwandila said.
The contamination was said to have occurred when small-scale farmers made holes in Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) sewer lines.
The water from the sewer lines sipped through into the line carrying drinking water.
Mupambe Township has a population of about 3,000 people.
MWSC public relations officer, Patricia Luhanga said in a statement that the contamination was caused by an act of vandalism.
"Our investigations have revealed that the contamination was caused by an act of vandalism. Some residents engaged in gardening activities punctured the sewer lines and used untreated sewer water to irrigate various crops," Ms Luhanga said.
She said the water utility company had isolated the water line and diverted it 500 metres away from the sewer line.
"Secondly, the infrastructure in place is old and has outlived its design period. The water and sewerage networks in the area were put up in the 1950s. Because of old age, the reticulation system is subjected to periodic damages," Ms Luhanga said.
Water supply was restored to the area on Saturday.
And Mr Mwandila said the Mufulira District Health Management Team (DHMT) had collected samples for laboratory tests.
"We are now waiting for results of samples of loose stool taken from victims of water contamination for laboratory tests," Mr Mwandila said.
He said police were pursuing a small-scale farmer who is suspected to have broken the pipe.
Copperbelt Minister Rodgers Mwewa last week visited Mupambe Township and ordered the arrest of the vandals.