Uttarakhand reports several cases of cholera

Pestilence fears: Efforts on to avert epidemic ; state copes with poor sanitation

Uttarakhand reports several cases of cholera

Fears of epidemic in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand were realised as the state reported many cases of cholera. In the aftermath of the devastating floods, the state is continuing to cope with poor sanitation, which, coupled with open defecation and consumption of contaminated food, could have resulted in cholera and diarrhoea, according to experts.

A member of the National Disaster Response Force from Shimoga, Dr Kumar VLS, who has been part of rescue operations in the flood-hit state since June 21, said around 15 cholera cases were reported in Dehradun and Uttarkashi. Some diarrhoea cases were also reported.

However, medical test report is yet to confirm any significant increase in the number of cholera cases.

While consumption of contaminated water and open defecation are suspected to be the major reason for the outbreak, cholera could not have been caused by corpses as they were washed away by rainwater. Moreover, bodies in Kedarnath have been cleared away.

Kumar said: “In order to contain cholera, we are providing treated water to stranded pilgrims by availing mobile water treatment machines. People suffering from cholera are being treated in hospitals in Uttarkashi. The situation is under control and the pilgrims need not panic. We are taking all necessary steps to ensure that the number of cholera cases would not increase in the region.”  

In an exclusive chat with Deccan Herald, Dr Kumar, a practising dental surgeon in Shimoga, said: “With the sole intention of preventing the outbreak of water-borne diseases in the flood-ravaged state, we are purifying water through two kinds of mobile water treatment machines. One is attached to a trailer and the other is portable.”

The team is using five such machines in Uttarkashi. Three of them are portable and two are mobile water treatment machines, Dr Kumar said.  

“They function on three-way process. The cartridge filter distils particle more than 50 microns, carbon filter removes odour and taste, and ultra violet rays remove bacteria, virus and purify water,” Dr Kumar said.

Purified water is being supplied to the  tourists who are trapped in Pithoragarh district  and Uttarkashi.

“We have a team of experts to operate these machines. In this way, we are doing our best to rescue the stranded pilgrims and protect their health,” he added.

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