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Don't drink the water …

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:667
  1. Andrew S Furber, specialist registrar in public health (
  1. Eastern Wakefield Primary Care Trust

    It was about 4 am when the phone rang. I answered it with the usual worries about why someone should be calling me at this time. To my relief it was not a relative informing me of a family illness, but a friend letting me know of a possible threat to my own health. “We've been told that the hospital has been admitting lots of people with vomiting and the rumour is that terrorists have put arsenic in the water supply.”

    It was raining outside so I put a bucket out to collect some of the run off from the roof, and went back to bed.

    Our response to terrorism is inconsistent

    I was nonchalant not because I mistrusted the story—although I did have doubts about its credibility—but because of the effect of living in Kathmandu under the daily threat of terrorist activity. The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal had started in the mid-1990s and had gradually grown in intensity and extent. A deliberate release into a major water supply would have been a change in …

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