Davit Sergeenko

Health Minister Davit Sergeenko. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The number of confirmed cases of viral meningitis in Georgia increased from 142 to 161 Thursday, as the health minister calmed people’s fears and assured them that the virus is not spreading through the drinking water.

A rumor that the virus is spreading through tap water has been circulating in social media for the last few days.

Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said on Thursday that no pollution factors are in play when it comes to the spread of viral meningitis.

“Epidemiologists assume it is not caused by environment factors, but that it is a characteristic feature for a cyclical virus.”

The health minister said 161 cases have been confirmed so far; none of them severe.

“I still confirm that there is no reason for panic. This is not an epidemic explosion which may require quarantine or any other strict sanitary measures,” he added.

Representatives of Georgian Water and Power, which is responsible for water supply in Tbilisi, were quoted by Interpressnews saying that water is not polluted.

“The water quality is continuously monitored. If there are suspicions, we need specific addresses, to go to the spot and study the situation.”

GWP claims no-one will be able to find out about pollution earlier than the company.

Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health Wednesday decided to close kindergartens and schools up to 6th grade until May 27 to take additional sanitary measures.