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Odisha's Malkangiri district is becoming victim of an unknown disease that has already claimed four lives and has infected 13 more who are currently hospitalised.
District's health department has now initiated a probe after people of the Koya tribe from a remote village of Malkangiri died in less than a month. The recent death was registered on Saturday.
It has been reported to be some kind of unknown waterborne disease and currently has no diagnosis. The symptoms include swollen feet and stomach, loss of appetite, and acute weakness, The Indian Express quoted the health officials. Tribal people have been suffering with the disease from the past three months.
Officials further informed that the situation aggravated due to a lack of willingness of villagers to seek treatment from a verified doctor, and instead approaching local treatments or local witch 'doctors'. However, according to the villagers, due to the lack of healthcare facilities, they were forced to opt for such alternative ways. The nearest healthcare clinic is 25 kms away from the village.
The deaths have been reported from Sorgiguda village, in Maithili block of the district, which has a population of 260. A medical team had visited the village and taken blood samples of the people in the area.
"Sample of the drinking water available in the area was also taken. The team is making regular visits to the village to conduct required tests, however, the exact cause of deaths is yet to be known," District collector Manish Agrawal told the media.
Five of those admitted have been diagnosed with malaria. As per primary reports, all of them suffer from anaemia, with haemoglobin levels in the range of 5-7. The swollen feet and stomach also suggest symptoms of liver or kidney ailments.
Tight security has also been set up outside the hospital so that the patients do not abscond in the middle of the treatment and hamper the findings. But that can only be ascertained after all tests have been conducted, informed Chief District Medical Officer, PK Nanda.
Earlier in June, similar deaths were reported from another village of the district, Kenduguda, where 15 people had died with most of them complaining of swollen legs and stomach.
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