Gastroenteritis claims 3 lives

COIMBATORE, MAY 7. The sudden upsurge of gastroenteritis in parts of Coimbatore and Erode districts has claimed three lives, while more than 500 persons have been affected since Friday.

A 65-year-old woman of Samarayapatti village in the affected Komaralingam town panchayat area died today on way to Udumalpet hospital while Pappal (59) and her son Venkittu (44) of Elandaikuttai died at the Erode Government Headquarters Hospital.

Komaralingam TP in Coimbatore district, which has a Primary Health Centre, is the worst-affected area, and patients who could not be handled there were being referred to Government Hospitals in Coimbatore and Udumalpet. About 510 persons have been affected, official figures say, due to a suspected water- borne infection.

In Erode district, the Government Hospital has admitted 20 cases, while cases were also reported from Pallipalayam and Hasanure forest area. Responding to the outbreak of infection, the Health Department began cholera inoculation for residents of Komaralingam, Samarayapatti and Kolumam. Disposable syringes and oral rehydration salts were distributed.

The District Collector said on Sunday that the tests done at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital indicated that 50 per cent of the cases were `cholera positive'.