MOSCOW, Jan. 25 (UPI) — Russian officials said Monday approximately 50 people in eastern Siberia could have become ill using water taken from wells during a religious celebration.
The regional Investigation Committee, which is probing the matter in Irkutsk, said the victims all complained of “symptoms of acute intestinal infection” and high temperature, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported. Forty people were hospitalized.
Rospotrebnadzor, a consumer watchdog organization, said the source of the mass illness could have been water drawn from two wells near a church Jan. 19, during the celebration of the feast of the Epiphany, or the baptism of Jesus. Some faiths believe water becomes holy and imbued with healing powers during the Epiphany.
“All the victims are known to have taken water from two wells near the Archangel Michael Church and from an ice hole made in a nearby lake,” local officials said.
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