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Panic follows cholera strike

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 25: Panic gripped the tribal-populated Kashipur and Chandrapur blocks in Rayagada district as cholera and diarrhoea claimed 58 lives till date.

District administration and health officials were worried after it was confirmed that the stool samples collected from Kashipur area contained cholera bacteria.

Even fresh news about the outbreak of water-borne diseases in Kumbhikota area under Jemadeipentha primary health centre in the same district led health officials rushing to the spot.

Yesterday, health secretary Chinmoy Basu visited the affected areas in Kashipur block to take stock of the situation. Basu asked the doctors and health officials to tackle the situation on a war footing.

Director of health services Usha Patnaik said 48 deaths were reported from Kashipur block and 10 from neighbouring Chandrapur block so far.

However, she claimed that the situation was gradually being controlled following medical intervention as evident from the fact that no reports of fresh deaths had been received.

Patnaik said about 1,700 patients were treated at various health centres after the outbreak of the water-borne diseases, but none of them died. Only the patients who could not be shifted from the inaccessible pockets to the health centres succumbed to the disease, she said.

Patnaik attributed the outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea to the consumption of polluted water collected from hilly streams.

Several medical teams were rushed to the affected villages from the Bhubaneswar-based Regional Medical Research Centre, MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur and from the neighbouring districts of Ganjam and Bolangir. Besides, two medical teams have been deputed by NGOs, she said.

All these teams have fanned out to the affected villages and started treating the patients, supervising disinfection of water sources and distributing preventive medicines, said the health director.

Rayagada chief district medical officer P. Sitaram said that 48 persons had died of water-borne diseases in Kashipur since July 13, while reports of 10 deaths had been received from the neighbouring Chandrapur area.

Sitaram said he was rushing to Kumbhikota area in Jemadeipentha after being apprised of the outbreak.

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