Balasore, Aug. 17: Two students of a private residential school in Mayurbhanj died and 15 are undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital in Baripada. Doctors suspect that the victims were bitten by a snake.
The deceased have been identified as Gourishankar Mohanta of Class V and Rutuparna Marandi of upper KG of Arabindo Purnanga Sikshya Kendra, Kumbharmunda.
“The symptoms of the victims indicated that a poisonous snake had bitten them. However, we will conduct autopsies on the deceased children to be absolutely sure of the cause of death,” said Chandan Murmu, Baripada’s chief district medical officer.
The 15 students undergoing treatment were showing signs of improvement.
However, school secretary Purnachandra Mahapatra ruled out that the students were bitten by snakes.
“Gourishankar died on the way and Rutuparna died at the hospital. It is a mystery. I didn’t find any snake bite symptom,” said Mahapatra.
Hostel superintendent Pritiparna Marandi said: “The students went to bed after having dinner around 9.15pm. All of them were under mosquito nets. When I woke them up around 4.15am, two of them complained of throat congestion and were gasping for breath.”
“I immediately informed the secretary, who is also an allopathic doctor, and we took the children to Baripada,” she said.
The school is about 28km from the district headquarters. It has classes from lower kindergarten to Class VII. The student strength is 256, of which 115 stay at the hostel.
“Since the school is privately managed, we will intervene only after instructions from our department,” said Sandip Samal, the district inspector of education, Baripada.