One more person has died of jaundice in the state capital Shimla, taking the toll to three, as the authorities grapple with an epidemic triggered by supply of contaminated water to homes.
Roshan Lal, who passed away on Saturday morning, was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital (IGMC) last week. His death comes just a day after one-year-old Mridul succumbed to the disease at IGMC, where a woman also died of jaundice on January 13.
More than 700 people have fallen ill in the district since December 15, when the Shimla municipal corporation first found out that water supplied to the Ashwani Khad locality had not been treated properly.
Ashwani Khad provides 9 million litres per day to Main Mehli, Khalini, Chotta Shimla, Kasumpti, Malayana, Vikasnagar and Dhalli colonies.
As the number of patients rose, setting the alarm bells ringing, a committee of councillors later established that waste from the sewerage treatment plant at Malayana had been flowing directly into the water source at Ashwani Khad.
Supply from Ashwani Khad has ever since been stopped and residents are being provided water from other sources on alternate days. Deputy mayor Tikender Panwar told HT that it will take a few days for the jaundice to subside.
But the disease has already spread its tentacles to Shimla town, where two premier hospitals, IGMC and Deen Dayal Upadhayay Hospital, have seen at least 700 patients.
“Most of the patients are those who consumed the water supplied from Ashwani Khad,” said IGMC’s medical superintendent, Dr Ramesh Chand, who is himself being treated for jaundice. “I believe the problem is far and wide... a few bureaucrats and people from the judiciary were also admitted here for treatment,” the medical superintendent said.