After children, the next victims of the polluted waters of the Karamana river at Thiruvallam are the fishes in the river, several hundreds of which have been found floating dead since Wednesday.

Barely three weeks after 20 children from the region were diagnosed with leptospirosis, prompting local health officials to splash the river banks with posters cautioning the public against stepping into the river or using the water, several hundreds of dead fishes were found floating along the shorelines of the river, including near the Pallathukadavu bathing ghat, from where the children were suspected to have contracted the disease while practising swimming.

According to local residents, the dead fishes were first spotted on Wednesday morning, and initially were dismissed as nothing serious. But by noon, the number of dead fishes on the river surface burgeoned and the local health officials were informed. Thiruvallam Primary Health Centre in-charge N. Latha, who visited the spot, told The Hindu that the dead fishes were spotted at several areas, with the numbers being more near the Thiruvallam bridge and near the Pallathukadavu ghat.

By Thursday, sanitation wing workers removed some of the fishes, but even then, there were several still floating around. The stench, Dr. Latha and the local residents said, had become unbearable. “We have collected water samples and sent them for analysis. The report is expected in a week. We have submitted our initial report to the District Medical Officer as well. The cause, as of now, is not known. But we believe it could be the pollution in the river,” she said.

DMO (in-charge) S.V. Satheesh Kumar said the actual cause could be ascertained once the analysis report was available, but there were little chances of any reason other than the unabated pollution of the river. “The only way out is to clean the river and prevent dumping of garbage in it. We are planning to meet the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation officials in this regard,” he said, adding that Health officials, who had earlier conducted two medical camps in the area during which the leptospirosis cases were noticed, were still on the alert though no new cases of leptospirosis had been reported.

The public in the area had stopped swimming in the river or using the water for any purpose after the warnings from the health officials.