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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

At least seven people have died of cholera and about 104 others have been affected in the cholera outbreak in Kashipur block of Rayagada district.

This was revealed by Rayagada District Collector Swadha Dev Singh based on a report of the ICMR’s Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar.

Though initially, we were suspecting it to be diarrhoea, later it came to the fore that people might have been infected with cholera also. They collapsed because they could not get the proper medical attention at the due time, Singh said.

She said now the administration is focusing on early identification of cases based on the symptoms so that they can be provided medical attention immediately.

Official sources said that three out of the nine samples of rectal swabs of patients in the district were found to have the presence of the Vibrio cholera bacteria.

The Vibrio cholera bacteria were found in the faeces of three patients from Dudukabahal village, one of the several affected villages in the block. The bacteria has also been found in the water used by the villagers.

Rayagada’s Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Lalmohan Routray also confirmed that the disease was spreading from contaminated water.

Director, Public Health, Niranjan Mishra said, “The government has taken several measures to check spread of the cholera by opening two temporary medical camps in affected areas of Kashipur block. The medical teams rushed to the area and are visiting door to door to find out whether anyone has any symptoms.”

As there is a rise in cholera cases in Rayagada, the district administration of neighbouring Koraput and Kalahandi have also been put on alert and do an immediate intervention if anyone shows any symptoms.

Many people were under treatment at the Community Health Centre at Kashipur, Primary Health Centre in Tikiri, District Headquarters Hospital at Rayagada, Aditya Birla Medical and Utkal Hospital in Ushapada. One patient is undergoing treatment at the SLN Medical College & Hospital in Koraput.

Following confirmation of cholera, the people were being provided with tanker water, the Collector said, adding that villagers have been asked not to use water from rivers, canals, ponds, wells and tube wells for drinking or other purposes till further orders.
“The district administration has also set up a helpline 9437448747 for any help from the public,” she said.

This southern Odisha district dominated by tribals has a history of being hit by cholera and other water-borne diseases. The issue was also raised in the State Assembly on Tuesday with Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra demanding a statement from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the issue.

Rayagada MLA Makaranda Muduli demanded a long-term solution to the vexed diarrhoea and cholera problem in Kashipur block as many poor people are becoming victims to the water-borne disease.

Meanwhile, a team of State Congress led by party’s tribal cell President Bhujabal Majhi visited Tikiri area of the affected district to take stock of the situation.

The team held discussion with the affected people and doctor teams about the prevailing situation in the area. The team will submit a ground report to the State Congress after returning from the area.

“The poor tribal people in Rayagada district do not have access to proper food and live on mango kernel. The healthcare facilities are in a sorry state in the district for which people in the area are dying due to diarrhoea and cholera,” said Majhi.

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