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HomeNational61 residents die of 'unknown' disease in Chhattisgarh village in two years,...
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61 residents die of ‘unknown’ disease in Chhattisgarh village in two years, claim locals; Officials begin an investigation MPNRC News

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A preliminary examination of the records revealed that 47 people died of various causes, including disease and natural causes. (Image: PTI)

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Sukma, Aug 6 (PTI): Residents of a remote village in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district have claimed that 61 people have died there in the last three years due to some “unknown” disease, prompting authorities to swoop in to find out what exactly caused the deaths.

Residents of Regadgatta village in Konta development group recently raised the issue with district officials, saying that a preliminary examination of records revealed that 47 people died due to various causes including disease and natural causes.

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The population of the village is more than 1,000 and 130 families live there. On July 27, villagers handed over a letter to the Sukma district collector, claiming that 61 people, including youths and women, have died since 2020 with symptoms of swelling of the hands and feet.

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Awaiting a detailed report to identify the levels of heavy metals like arsenic in the water and soil there, officials said, adding that on August 8, a team of experts would be sent to the village to thoroughly study the environmental causes.

The villagers requested the administration to immediately send a team of doctors to the problem to prevent further deaths.

After locals raised the issue, a team of health care workers and other experts was sent there last week, Sukma Collector Harish S told PTI.

“Preliminary investigations show that 47 people died in that village in the last three years, but not all of them died of the same cause as claimed by the locals,” he added.

Some of the dead had swelling and it could be due to different reasons. A preliminary report on water source samples has concluded that fluoride levels were above the limit in two water sources while iron levels were high in some sources, he said.

“But as of now, we cannot say that the death was caused by the heavy metal content in the water because water carrying too much fluoride weakens the bones and there are no such symptoms in the local population,” he said.

An excess of iron causes complications but does not cause sudden death. There may be other environmental causes. Chronic alcoholic behavior in the population may also be a possibility (for kidney-related diseases), he added.

A detailed report is awaited to identify the levels of heavy metals like arsenic in water and soil, he said. The Collector said that after the case came to light, a team of health officials who visited the village conducted a medical examination of the villagers, in which 41 were found to have swelling in their bodies and kidney-related problems.

Examination revealed elevated uric acid and creatinine levels as compared to normal parameters. He said that he is undergoing treatment and his condition is stable.
Among them, two very weak patients were admitted to Sukma District Hospital, he said.

A team of experts will be sent to the village on August 8 to further study the environmental causes, he added.
District Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Yashwant Dhruva said that a preliminary investigation showed 15 deaths in the village this year due to various causes, including kidney disease, age-related problems and malaria.

“How many of them died due to kidney diseases cannot be confirmed”, he said.

“Out of the 20 water sources tested, two hand pumps were found to have high levels of fluoride, after which they were closed for use, while the villagers were advised not to use eight water sources for drinking as their iron content exceeded the limit”, he said.

Some villagers have mild symptoms of acute kidney disease and are undergoing further tests, he added.
An ANM (Assistant Nurse Midwife) was recently appointed at a sub health center there, he said. PTI COR TKP

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