At least three people, including two women, have died of a mysterious illness in a remote village of Chhattisgarh's northern forested region, health officials said on Friday.
Two women and a man, all in their early 40s, died on Wednesday after complaining of sudden headache in Injani village of Surguja district, about 510 km north of state capital Raipur.
"The village is in the middle of a forest and district level health officials based at Ambikapur, the district headquarters of Surguja district, came to know about the matter only on Thursday," a health official told IANS.
He said medical experts have reached the village to immediately begin preventive measures to contain the disease.
"The villagers had performed the final rites of all three before a health squad reached the village. The locals told the visiting health team that some mysterious disease had claimed them but since no post-mortem examination was performed it's difficult to tell exactly what disease killed them," Pramod Singh, director of Chhattisgarh Health Services, told IANS.
The villagers are reportedly blaming ghosts and witches for the deaths and have been holding rituals to ward off evil spirits.