One case confirmed; 30 treated for diarrhoea in last four days
At least one child has tested positive for cholera and three other children who are suspected to have the infection were admitted to the Communicable Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Tondiarpet. A total of 15 adults have been admitted to the hospital for treatment of diarrhoeal complaints.
Apart from this, around 15 patients, including three children, are currently undergoing treatment at the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMCH). All those admitted to the two hospitals are from Bhoobathy Nagar and Pullapuram, localities in the vicinity of the Chetpet railway station.
Early on Saturday morning, Pullammal, a 60-year-old woman resident of Ossankulam in Chetpet who had been admitted three days ago for treatment of diarrhoea, died following renal complications. The cholera confirmatory test was not done for the woman, doctors said.
According to Dean P. Ramakrishnan, 30 persons were treated for diarrhoea in the last four days. Two women were sent to the obstetrics-gynaecology department while the rest were admitted in the male and female medical wards. The three children are in the children’s ward. All patients have been segregated in isolation wards.
The child, Lokesh, was admitted to KMCH on Tuesday with complaints of diarrhoea and fatigue. On Wednesday, stool tests confirmed presence of cholera vibrio bacteria. “The child had with rice-water-like stools and the confirmatory hanging drop test found the presence of the bacteria. We sent the child to the infectious diseases hospital. The stool samples of the other children were also similar they have been sent for tests. Since we suspect that they have cholera, they too have been shifted to the CDH,” said R. Narayan Babu, head of paediatrics department, KMCH. The boy’s condition is improving, he added.
Dr. Narayan Babu said some of the symptoms of cholera are stool which is the colour of rice water and has a foul fish-like smell. The stool samples in all the four children were the colour of rice water.
Bhoobathy Nagar and Ossankulam, with several rows of Tamil Nadu Housing Board apartments, are sandwiched between Chetpet Railway Station and Poonamallee High Road.
“It started around two months ago. We complained to the Corporation officials several times but they blame it on Metrorail work. For three years now, the drainage chambers have not been desilted. We get quality water from the hand pump between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. only,” said Kesavan, a resident . Metrowater officials suspended piped supply to the locality on Saturday.
The residents had represented to councillor of ward 104 on Friday about lack of garbage clearance and poor quality drinking water. “During monsoon the ground floor apartments get flooded. It is because of encroachers behind the housing board apartments,” said Rani, another resident.
“The Corporation authorities had promised to evict them in 2005 but nothing has been done yet,” said Samuel, also a resident.
A Metrowater official said the agency maintained residual chlorine level at a minimum of 0.2 ppm in the affected area.
“We will increase the level to 0.4 ppm to maintain quality of drinking water,,” the official said. The affected area is now isolated from piped water supply and is provided tanker water.
(With inputs from K. Lakshmi)