Jaundice:17 death, CM likely to visit Sambalpur

Jaundice continues to affect Sambalpur with two more persons succumbing to the disease on Sunday. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik and chief secretary G C Pati are likely to visit the western Odisha city on December 24, government sources said.

Raju Swain of Fishery Bandh of Sambalpur and Atmaram Surujal of Anlapalli village under Dhamma panchayat died while undergoing treatment at Sambalpur district headquarters hospital. Two other persons had died on Saturday. Though government sources put the death toll at 17, unofficial sources put it at 21.

What is worrying is several patients are suffering from a second bout of the disease after getting cured. Surujal, who died on Sunday, had tested positive for hepatitis E on November 14. He was discharged from hospital after over a month of treatment. He tested positive again and was hospitalized.

According to government figures, 1,270 people had tested positive for either Hepatitis A or Hepatitis E, both of which spread through contaminated water.

After a review of the situation by the chief secretary, health secretary Arti Ahuja said all possible efforts are being taken to tackle the situation. She said the number new positive cases had already shown a declining trend. Earlier over 50% suspected cases were testing positive for viral jaundice. The percentage has gone down to 30, she said. So far, 787 jaundice patients have sought treatment at the district headquarters hospital.

Ahuja said since contaminated water was causing the disease, the public health engineering organization (PHEO) has been taking steps on a war-footing to provide safe drinking water.

The health secretary said patients were being provided with free diagnosis and treatment at VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, and the district headquarters hospital.

The secretary said accredited social health activists (ASHAs) and anganwadi workers were moving door to doors to create awareness on boiling drinking water, washing hands before taking meals and personal hygiene.

Sambalpur municipal authorities are conducting regular checks on street foods to prevent consumption of contaminated food by people. Tubewells are being repaired and disinfected, she said.

Patients from Sambalpur continue to throng Bhubaneswar for treatment. Around 100 patients have been admitted to various hospitals in the state capital.

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