Panic in Odisha’s Rayagada district over 30 chikungunya cases

Villagers storing potable water in plastic barrels without cover due to shortage of water, claims official

By Ashis Senapati
Published: Monday 08 June 2020
Two tribal women collect water outside water tank in Odisha's Rayagada district. Photo: Ashis Senapati

Tribal-dominated Rayagada district of Odisha reported 30 confirmed cases of chikungunya, as on June 8, 2020. All cases were reported from Barijholla village and JK Pur town in the district.

Rayagada is least affected in Odisha with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak — only two persons have tested positive for the virus SARS-CoV-2 so far.

All 30 patients are undergoing treatment in the government hospitals in the district, according to B Laxminarayan Prusty, chief district medical officer (CDMO), Rayagada. According to officials, residents stored water in plastic barrels without proper cover due to shortage of potable water, which may have provided a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Chikungunya virus is an arbovirus that belongs to the genus Alphavirus. It is a viral disease that is spread by the bite of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

“We distributed mosquito nets to several villagers. Villagers should also drink potable water to prevent the spread of the disease,” said Prusti.

Prusti added that primary health centers (PHCs) have stocked sufficient supplies of medicines to treat the patients. The CDMO added that the villagers have been asked to observe a ‘dry day’, during which all surroundings will be kept dry.

“We need to prevent stagnation of water as standing waters serves as the breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The vulnerable areas are cement tanks, barrels, drums, earthen pots and plastic jars,” the CDMO said.

“Several tube wells have not been working but the authorities haven't repaired them. Several villagers complained of fever and joint pain, the symptoms of Chikungunya,” said Bijuni Jana, a resident of Barijholla.

Some villagers alleged that they did not get any medicine from the hospitals for free. They added several villagers have no money to purchase medicines from shops.

The CDMO, however, refuted the allegation: “We are distributing medicines for free to the patients,” he said.

Rabindra Pradhan, a social worker, Rayagada claimed that due to the non-availability of doctors in several community health centres, villagers have been turning to quacks for treatment.

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