Even as water-borne diseases have registered a marked increase during this monsoon, suspected diarrhoea outbreak at a slum in Palamandap area has spread panic among the people in that part of the city.
In the past one week two persons at the Sabar Sahi slum under Ward 40 have reportedly succumbed to the disease while several others have been admitted to hospitals after having contracted illness. The two elderly deceased women have been identified as Bula Swain and Surya Swain.
According to the locals, they had developed diarrhoea and died due to lack of treatment. The disease had been spreading in the slum pocket and around 25 to 30 families have been affected by it this year.
The reason for the outbreak is attributed to the contamination of the major water source, the well. Over 100 people of the area, dependent on two municipal standpoints near the Laxmi Mandap for their drinking water needs, used water from the local well for most of their daily chores like bathing, washing clothes and utensils, etc.
The well has not been cleaned or disinfected for decades as a result of which, the water is contaminated. A tube- well was also sunk adjacent to the well but it has also gone defunct for a long time.
With the tube-well not working, people had returned to using the water from the well and are now suffering the consequences.
On being informed, the health authorities under Civic administration rushed in personnel to examine the situation. While disinfecting the water sources and providing medicines, water purifying tablets to the locals, they also shifted a woman to the SCB Medical College and Hospital.
The health officials have, however, discounted a diarrhoeal outbreak. “It is sporadic. The woman who was shifted to the hospital suffers from tuberculosis associated diarrhoea. Her young daughter was also found to be affected. We have, however, started house-to-house disinfection operations and screening of the population therein,” health officer Dr PK Pradhan said.
Corporator PK Khuntia said, the Public Health Engineering Organisation has been instructed to immediately repair the tube- well and ensure proper drinking water supply to the people.