ROURKELA: Sundargarh district administration seems to be oblivious of the anthrax scare which has gripped the adjacent Bano block of Simdega district in Jharkhand.
Sources said tribals from Bano village, which has reported seven deaths due to the disease in 13 days, continue to frequent the border pockets of Sundargarh while the district Health Department seems to have turned a blind eye to the impending danger.
Though the situation is claimed to be under control, fear of the disease spreading to the border villages of Sundargarh looms large after 10 patients undergoing treatment at Sadar Hospital in Bano reportedly escaped.
Reliable sources said about 16 days back, villagers of Karuchdaga of Bano had processed the carcass of a cow and later consumed it. Two patients died on October 15 and another perished next day while local health authorities failed to identify the disease. A medical team led by Civil-Surgeon-cum-Chief-Medical-Officer Dr ADN Prasad took charge of the situation. Between October 18 and 20, four more patients succumbed to the disease. Reportedly seven of the 10 quarantined patients fled the hospital on October 23 and the rest three on Monday.
After blood samples tested anthrax positive at RIMS, Ranchi, a team of doctors of Centre for Disease Control (CDC) took stock of the situation on Sunday. Simdega-based District Magistrate and Deputy Commissioner Diprava Lakra said the situation is under control and teams have started providing preventive medication to vulnerable persons along with vaccination of animals in a radius of five kms. He said a ban has been imposed in the block on sale of meat for next 15 days.
Dr Prasad said normally human to human contact is not risky but human to animal contact carries the risk of transmission of the disease. He said anthrax is spread by contact with spores and affected persons with itchy skins or sores could be potential threat to humans who come in their contact.
Last month, a person died of anthrax at Hathibari area of Nuagaon block in Sundargarh. No monitoring process has been put in place even though tribal vegetable vendors from Bano visit Rourkela city daily. Many from the affected area also frequent their relatives and friends in Nuagaon.
Sundargarh Chief District Medical Officer Dr Basant Nayak said he would ask the authorities of Public Health wing to take necessary steps in this regard.