Experts confirm Simdega anthrax - Damage control on: docs

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 28.10.14
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Ranchi, Oct. 27: A two-member team from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) today confirmed an anthrax outbreak in Kuruchdega village, Simdega, based on earlier RIMS pathological test reports and on-the-spot findings.

Though an expert team of the state health department had visited the area last week following reports of mysterious deaths of seven villagers, it had been waiting for the NCDC’s formal confirmation.

Dr Shah Hussain, outbreak mentor of NCDC, reached Kuruchdega village on Sunday while his colleague Dr Priya Kant joined him this morning. State integrated disease surveillance programme officials said that the team would spend a few weeks in the area for further investigations.

Dr Ramesh Prasad, director of state integrated surveillance wing, said: “According to our daily updates, things are completely under control. There is no need to worry. The only thing we must ensure is sustained treatment for victims.”

At Kuruchdega, after the seven deaths focussed media attention, 10 other persons who displayed “puzzling symptoms”, finally received correct treatment and are on their way to recovery.

Anthrax, a potentially lethal disease, is caused by bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Spreading through spores, it infects cattle through grazing and transfers to humans via touch, blood or flesh. Symptoms include cold and flu that escalate to pneumonia and respiratory collapse, and more rarely, severe gastro-intestinal disorders. Ambiguous symptoms can delay diagnosis.

Simdega civil surgeon A.D.N. Prasad said they were now working on a “sort of quarantine” to prevent the disease from spreading.

“Technically, one can’t quarantine a village as the mobility of humans or for that matter cattle can’t be tracked and restricted 24/7,” he conceded, but added they were currently working out some modalities. From October 22-23 onwards, two antibiotics — Ciprofloxacin and Doxycycline — have been distributed to all villagers, including those undergoing treatment, as a precaution.

“A team of four healthcare personnel, including doctors and ANMs, is keeping daily tabs,” he said.