SAMBALPUR: Alarmed at the spread of jaundice in this western Odisha city, the state government has decided to form a joint task force for taking concrete steps to contain the disease.
The decision was taken during a visit here by state Housing and Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singh Deo and Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak to take stock of the situation.
Singh Deo said five water samples sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing have tested negative.
Stating that more and more jaundice cases were being reported everyday, he said over 50 more water samples would be sent for laboratory test soon.
"Moreover, a joint task force will be formed to contain the disease," said Singh Deo adding 70 per cent water supply pipelines were running through drains in the city.
Health Minister Nayak said a public health team has already been stationed here and free treatment and check up for the patients have already been started.
It has also been decided to stop PHED water supply to those areas of the city, which have been badly affected by the disease and provide water from alternative source, he said.
Of the total 29 wards of Sambalpur municipality, 17 wards have been badly affected due to jaundice. Seven wards, Ward no 8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 20 are severely affected.
As per an official survey conducted by the health department, 818 people of the city have been infected and ten persons have died due to the disease this year.