Bhubaneswar: Jaundice has killed 13 people in Odisha's Sambalpur town and its adjoining area since May and infected nearly 1,100 others, an official said on Monday.
The administration has stopped supplying drinking water through pipelines over fear that sewage may have seeped into the drinking water as new patients continue to pour into the hospitals and private clinics in the area.
"So far, 13 people have died of jaundice," chief district medical officer J.K. Samantaray told IANS. Most of those affected have been treated and cured. Only ten jaundice patients are currently undergoing treatment at the local government hospital, he added.
The district headquarters town of Sambalpur, about 320 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, has a population of nearly two lakh which is being supplied safe drinking water through tankers after the outbreak of water-borne disease, he said.
Health officials are going door to door in the city as a part of the awareness campaign launched about preventing the spread of the disease. People are being urged to drink only boiled water.
Besides, local authorities have started an operation to overhaul the water supply pipes, most of which run along the drainage system.
Non-government organisation Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) said the Mahanadi river which supplies water to the city has been heavily polluted as huge quantities of sewage water and solid waste is discharged into it.
"At least 40 per cent of the city residents defecate in open. More than 10,000 people defecate every day on the banks of the river," WIO convenor Ranjan Panda said.