Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Dec 22:
With jaundice assuming alarming proportions in the western Odisha city of Sambalpur, the state government today annnounced that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and chief secretary Gokul Chandra Pati would visit the city on Wednesday to take stock of the situation there.
The decision was announced after Pati reviewed the situation with Health secretary Arati Ahuja and other officials of the department.
With two more jaundice deaths reported on Sunday, the toll in the outbreak of jaundice in Sambalpur has now mounted to 21 with no signs of abatement despite government claims of bringing the disease’s spread under control. The situation remains grim with four deaths due to the disease reported in the last two days.
While one Raju Swain of Fishery Bandh locality died due to the disease yesterday, another person Atmaram Surujal (60) of Anlapalli village under Dhamma panchayat died yesterday while undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital here taking the toll due to the disease to 21.
However, the official death toll due to the disease stands at 17.
Surujal had tested positive for jaundice after a blood test undertaken on November 14. After undergoing regular treatment for a month, he had gone for another blood test and had tested positive again. As his condition worsened, he had got himself admitted to the district headquarters hospital and died yesterday while undergoing the treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile, the district administration has stepped up operations to prevent and eradicate the disease even as the number of those afflicted with the disease is growing by the day.
The district administration is working full steam in plugging and renovating water supply pipelines and cleaning of drains using machines. At some places, encroachments on drains are being removed in presence of a magistrate while cleaning of drains using excavators have been undertaken. Super chlorination of the town’s drinking water supply system has been undertaken and halogen tablets are being distributed free to the residents in the affected areas. Cleaning of accumulated garbage in the town has also been stepped up.
“We have plugged all leakages in the water supply systems and have removed and replaced pipelines wherever it was required in the affected areas to ensure supply of safe drinking water,” said Manoj Ranjan Nanda, executive engineer PHED Sambalpur.
“If the disease has to be eradicated, it requires cooperation from all. Then only we can prevent it from taking the shape of an epidemic. Otherwise the death toll is 30 today and it will go on increasing tomorrow,” said Sandip Jena, a local.
With patients pouring in, beds in the hospitals are filled up and patients are forced to sleep on the corridors of the hospitals to avail in-patient treatment.
“See jaundice virus takes some days for incubation in the human body and symptoms may show only after some days of being afflicted. So we have to cope with the situation for another 15-20 days even if the spread of the disease has been brought under control,” said Dr Ashok Dash, ADMO, Sambalpur.
Sambalpur collector Balwant Singh said all efforts are being made to curb the spread of the disease as well as provide treatment to those afflicted. He said emphasis has been laid on raising awareness levels among the people.
“We have taken up chlorination of water supply system and the PHED has plugged leakages and replaced pipelines wherever it was required to do so. Every effort is being made to prevent the disease from spreading. We have made all arrangements for treatment of the affected. Raising awareness level among the people on prevention and sanitation is vital to curb the spread of the disease. We are doing that,” said the collector.