Seven die of cholera in Odisha’s Rayagada in a fortnight

The outbreak started on July 7 & spread to other districts

By Hrusikesh Mohanty
Published: Thursday 21 July 2022
Seven die of cholera in Odisha's Rayagada in a fortnight Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty

At least 104 people contracted cholera and at least seven died within a fortnight in Kashipur, an industrial block in Odisha’s tribal-majority district Rayagada, according to state officials.

The bacterial infection broke out on July 7, 2022 from Jhodia Sahi in Tikiri panchayat and has spread to six more villages in Dudkabahal, Sankarada and Maikanch panchayats, they said.

Four deaths were reported from Tikiri and one each from the other panchayats, said Lalmohan Routray, chief district medical officer (CDMO), Rayagada. As many as 48 of the 104 affected persons were undergoing treatment in different hospitals, while 42 others were under observation at their homes, he added. 

The presence of Vibrio cholerae bacteria that caused the water-borne disease was found in at least three of the 10 rectal swabs tested at Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar, said Swadha Dev Singh, collector, Rayagada.

Use of the contaminated water might be the cause of the outbreak of the disease, said CDMO. A team of experts from the RMRC, led by Dr Bibhuti Bhushan Pal, had collected water and other samples from Kashipur July 18 for further tests.

The residents of the affected villages generally use water from Janjavathi river, drain and ponds, hardly the tubewell, the collector said. “The villagers have been asked not to use the water from these sources. They have been supplied water through tankers.” 

The administration has facilitated treatment of cholera patients at all the five primary health centers in the block, she added.

Around 78 nearby villages are under surveillance, while a team from the World Health Organization rushed to the most-affected Tikiri panchayat to monitor the line of treatment, said CDMO. “The situation is now under control and there were no further deaths reported in the disease.”

Rayagada MLA Makaranda Muduli expressed dissatisfaction over the healthcare approach taken by the government in Kashipur block, despite frequent outbreaks of the diarrhoeal disease.

Around 70 people had died of cholera in the area in 2007, which took around three months to control, Muduli recalled. The disease had claimed 30 lives in 2010 and three in 2014, he added.

Yet, the residents of the block are deprived of proper health facilities due to the lack of adequate health staff, said the MLA.

“Kashipur has only four doctors although the number of sanctioned posts for doctors in the block’s ccommunity health centres and primary health centres is 17. Also, there are only three para medical staff in the block as against the sanctioning strength of 10,” Muduli wrote in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after the outbreak of the disease.

He urged the chief minister to depute an expert team to determine the exact reasons for frequent cholera outbreaks in the particular block as well as to take measures to provide pure and safe drinking water in the area.

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