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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Cholera outbreak in State capital

‘Ten of the 18 samples in Fever Hospital tested positive’

HYDERABAD: There is a cholera outbreak in the State capital. The startling fact came out after doctors at the Fever Hospital sent the faecal matter of 18 inpatients for microbiology tests out of which 10 samples tested positive for presence of vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera.

The finding has shaken the officialdom, which has summoned experts from the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata. The two-member team is expected to land in Hyderabad on Saturday to take up further measures.

Ever since the Bholakpur water contamination case came to light on Tuesday, over 500 people suffering from motions and vomiting were admitted to different hospitals. Eight people among these patients have died with the latest death being reported from a private hospital in Musheerabad on early Friday morning. The deceased was identified as 68-year-old Md. Yasin, a resident of Bakaram.

Health authorities began suspecting it to be a case of cholera outbreak after finding similarities between cholera symptoms and the symptoms of patients from Bholakpur and surrounding areas. Some of the patients had suffered rapid fluid loss leading to death within 72 hours. This had prompted the Fever Hospital doctors to test the patients for presence of bacteria causing cholera. “Ten of the 18 samples tested positive,” officials requesting anonymity said.

Enquiries with Gandhi Hospital authorities yielded little information on whether any patient had tested positive for cholera. There are 360 patients admitted to the hospital. “We cannot simply declare that there is a cholera outbreak. We have to conduct a variety of tests to confirm it,” was all Dr. M. Narsing Rao, Superintendent of Gandhi Hospital, said. He pointed out that the NICED was already contacted.

The Gandhi Hospital authorities have also collected the samples from Bholakpur patients and sent for testing and confirmation to its microbiological laboratory. “We are suspecting a strain of cholera and that can be only confirmed by the researchers of NICED,” added Gandhi Superintendent.

The district health authorities on Friday organised medical camps to newer areas, including Old Malakpet and Shankar Nagar and Patelnagar. Three patients have been admitted at the Malakpet hospital on Friday afternoon.

Ex gratia

The district authorities have distributed the ex gratia amount of Rs. two lakh each to the relatives of the deceased. District Collector Naveen Mittal handed over the cheques to the relatives of the deceased.

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