Cholera outbreak confirmed in two Panchkula villages, cases mount to 179
The health department has confirmed cholera as the reason for the death of a nine-year-old boy on Wednesday, even as the number of cases in Abheypur and Budhanpur villages due to the bacterial disease burgeoned to 179.
Confirming a cholera outbreak in the villages, civil surgeon Dr Mukta Kumar said the disease caused the death of nine-year-old Arpit in Abheypur on Wednesday.
She said in the last two days, 179 patients from the two villages had been admitted to the Civil Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula, after drinking contaminated water. Vibrio cholerae bacteria had been found in 16 out of 18 stool samples tested. Health teams had also collected 55 water samples from the villages and reports will be out in a couple of days, she added.
While the health department denied any other death, two admitted youths, Akshay, 17, and Roshan Kumar, 21, claimed their friend, Saurabh, 20, also died due to the disease.
Congress leader Om Parkash claimed the water contamination started after a new pipeline was laid near the park in Abheypur. “Around 10 days ago, we complained to the HUDA officials concerned. They even visited the area, but left after saying that everything is fine.”
For a village with nearly 50,000 people living in over 500 houses, only 12 water tankers were provided till Thursday, he said.
A HUDA official, not wishing to be named, said, “On July 13, we got a call from the area councillor regarding filthy water. We visited the area, but did not find any fault. We got another call regarding black water being supplied to a house. We inspected the site on Thursday and found the sewage mixing with the water supply pipe. Similar problem was found at another house, near a manhole.”
When contacted, Amit Rathi, executive engineer, HUDA, said, “Contamination was found at two houses and the supply there had been disconnected.”
‘Cannot live here anymore’
Father of nine-year-old Arpit, Anil Kumar, said he had decided to leave the village that took the life of his elder son: “I have bought tickets to drop my four-year-old son and wife in Uttar Pradesh. Then I will search for some other place to live. I cannot live here anymore.”
He alleged that his son was discharged even though he hadn’t recovered fully. “Who listens to a poor man? I begged them to look after my child, but they sent him home after giving some medicines. My child died, not because of filthy water, but due to medical negligence,” he lamented.
At the civil hospital, wards were full with people mostly from Abheypur and some from Budhanpur. “Water is so filthy and smells so bad that you cannot stand near it. We are getting sewage water in our homes,” alleged Rajesh, one of the patients.
Sarawati, mother of a 16-year-old patient, claimed they had been getting contaminated water for over two months, but it had worsened over the last 10 days.