Rourkela: Two persons died while eight were reportedly affected in a suspected breakout of anthrax disease at Birkera village under Kapatmunda panchayat of Bisra block in Sundargarh district, according to reports Saturday.
The deceased persons were identified as Lokesh Hans (45) and Eman Tigga (40) in the village. While Eman died Wednesday, Lokesh succumbed to the disease the next day. While the villagers said their deaths were caused by anthrax, chief district medical officer (CDMO) Sashi Bhushan Nayak rejected the charges. The incident has however triggered panic in the village.
Nayak claimed that while one of the villagers died of brain hemorrhage, the other succumbed to a tumour which he said was confirmed after a preliminary investigation.
Three of the eight affected persons were discharged after treatment at Bisra hospital while the rest have been undergoing treatment at Rourkela Government Hospital. Asit Tigga (32), Silai Hans (30), Bipin Lakra (30), Eman Hans (72) and Kiran Tigga (25) are undergoing treatment at Rourkela Government Hospital.
The affected persons were found with swellings on their hands and legs and blisters all over their body. Chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Ramachandra Behera met the patients and enquired about their health at Rourkela Government Hospital.
Blood samples of five affected persons were collected and sent to Bhubaneswar for lab tests, he said.
Meanwhile, a medical team visited Birkera village Saturday and met the family members of the affected persons. They enquired about the health of the affected persons. The team administered vaccines to over 163 villagers and distributed preventive medicines.
They asked the villagers not to panic and refrain from eating meat of dead animals and birds. They also asked villagers not to release their cattle for grazing for some days.
The villagers said over seven of their cattle have died of the disease during the last four days.
Preliminary probe suggested two villagers died and eight persons were affected after eating the meat of dead cattle. However, the villagers rejected the charges.
The villagers claimed that they first experienced itching on their body parts which soon led to blisters and later their limbs swelled. PNN