Three die of cholera in Ganjam district of Odisha

Consumed ‘contaminated’ drink during festival; 76 more undergoing treatment

Consumption of contaminated ‘pana’, the ritualistic drink related to ‘Dandanata’ festival, has led to an outbreak of cholera and three persons have died at Kadua village under Jaganathprasad block in Ganjam district of Odisha.

Two victims, Rita Nahak (25) and Bhami Muni (58), died on Saturday night, while Driver Nahak (45) died on Sunday morning.

Seventy-six people from the village with symptoms of cholera are now undergoing treatment at different medical centres.

“All of them had consumed ‘pana’, called ‘mahapuru pana’, prepared in the village as part of ‘Dandanata’ festival on Mahavishub Sankranti observed on April 14,” said Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) of Ganjam, Manoj Kumar Behera.

The ‘pana’ is a sweetened drink that includes fruits, cheese and other ingredients.

Enquiry by authorities

Enquiry by medical authorities and statements of victims have revealed that the ‘pana’ was prepared with water from a village pond being used for bathing as well as cleaning of body after defecation.

During the 21-day-long ‘Dandanata’, members of ‘Dandanata’ troupes live a nomadic life and also resort to defecation in the open, especially near water bodies. “The pond water was contaminated and ‘pana’ led to suspected cholera outbreak,” said Dr Behera.

Kadua villagers started suffering from symptoms of cholera, including severe loose motions and vomiting, from Saturday. Some were admitted to the Jagannathprasad CHC. Out of the patients, Rita, died in the hospital and Bhami, who returned to his home, died in the village. Another patient, Driver, died in Jagannathprasad hospital on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, 41 patients from Kadua village were still undergoing treatment at the Jagannathprasad CHC, 32 in Bhanjanagar sub-divisional hospital, two were admitted in Alasuguma Primary Health Centre, while one patient has been shifted to MKCG medical college and hospital in Berhampur, said Dr. Behera. Ganjam District Collector Prem Chand Choudhary, State Director for Public Health Dr. Gyanindra Kumar Tripathy, the CDMO and other health and administrative officials rushed to the area.

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