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2 dead in Kamarhati diarrhoea outbreak

TWO PERSONS died and at least 76 people were hospitalised with symptoms of diarrhea in Kamarhati area of the North 24 Parganas district on Wednesday. Even as two other persons who had showed similar symptoms died, doctors have claimed that two of these were due to renal failure. Around 160 people have been affected, sources said.

Rectal swab and water specimen has been collected, sources said. A large number of patients reached Sagore Dutt Medical College and Hospital with symptoms of diarrhoea, the sources said. Several of them were discharged after initial treatment and while at least 61 were admitted to the hospital. However, senior officials of health department said the deaths were not related to diarrhoea.

“A 72-year-old woman from Panihati was brought to the emergency ward around 11 am with history of hyper tension and acute renal failure. She had breathing difficulty and died around 11:05 am. The case was not related with the diarrhoea outbreak in Kamarhati, and she had been ailing for some time. Another patient, a 50-year-old woman, was attended to around 1 pm with history of vomiting and anuria in gasping condition and she died around 1:10 pm. According to the hospital authorities, the cause of death was acute renal failure,” said Director of Health Services, Dr Ajay Chakraborty.

Meanwhile, according to health officials, several people residing in ward number 1-5 of Kamarhati Municipality area complained about upper abdominal discomfort and vomiting.

According to Chakraborty, rectal swab and water specimen have been collected for laboratory tests. All required public health measures, such as water chlorination, visit by medical team, halogen distribution and health advice were provided, he said.

“People have been advised to boil water before drinking and the situation is under control. There is nothing to panic,” said Gopal Saha, administrator, Kamarhati Municipality.

According to doctors, the infection is likely to have spread from the drinking water. Sources said that in Kamarhati municipality there were basically two sources of drinking water in the area where the diarrhoea outbreak has been reported. One of these is provided by the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) and the other by the Kamarhati Jute Mill Authority. In this situation, water sample testing work has started. Municipal health workers are going from house to house. The campaign is going on to raise awareness so that people drink pure water.

“We are distributing Halazone tablets which is used to disinfect water for drinking. We are campaigning. Water sample has been sent for testing,” added Saha.

So far around 160 people have been affected in the diarrhoea outbreak, as per a report from SUDA (State Urban Development Agency). As many as 76 patients are now admitted in Sagar Dutta medical college and 40 in the kamarhati ESI Hospital. 

“There were two deaths associated with this outbreak. Two other deaths were there, but not related to diarrhoea. The district administration and the local municipality sent teams for the house-to-house visist, to monitor and counsel the the people and for active case finding, halogen tablets and ORS packet distribution,” said Dr Chakraborty. According to the health department, chlorination was done for all the the water reservoir and medical camp was operating in the affected area from 6 am to 6 pm. Medical officers and paramedical staff are keeping in frequent contact with the district authorities and the situation is is under control, officials said.

“Nine samples of rectal swab and four samples of of water were sent to NICED for investigation. The report is awaited Senior district officials visited the places to supervise the overall management and control activities,” said Dr Chakraborty.

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