Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik flew to the State's Rayagada and Kalahandi Districts today to review the steps being taken to counter the outbreak of cholera where more than 100 people have lost their lives over the past one month.
Patnaik described the situation as stable and under control, and announced an ex-gratia to the next of kin of those who had died of the disease.
He was accompanied by the State's Minister of Health and Family Welfare Duryadhan Majhi. They visited the affected villages that fall under the Dusmanthour Block in Koraput District and the Kahispur block in Rayagada District.
According to the sources close to the Director Health Services in Orissa, the death toll in the Rayagada District is 48 and in the Kalahandi District the figure has risen to 26.
Over a thousand have been admitted to various hospitals in both districts.
Patnaik said steps are being taken to control the spread of the disease. Among them are provision for clean water and disinfection of drinking water sources.
Arrangements have also been made for free medicines and food to patients and their attendants.
Nearly 30 medical teams, most of them mobile, have been pressed into service to treat the cholera victims surviving.
Medical officials in the neighbouring districts have been instructed to remain on alert, said Patnaik.
Meanwhile, Regional Medical Research Laboratory investigation has found 31 out of 40 samples positive for cholera.
The Director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases Professor Shiv Lal, led the three-member Central investigation team in Kashipur.
The team also met the State Health Secretary and the Director of Health Services.
Authorities say the outbreak of the epidemic is due to the polluted drinking water and the eating of contaminated meat after the receding of floodwaters.
Health workers are supplying drinking water and food to thousands of villagers in Rayagada District.
Cholera is transmitted by ingesting contaminated water or food. Symptoms include those of general GI tract (stomach) upset and massive watery diarrhoea. Symptoms may also include terrible muscle and stomach cramps, vomiting and fever in early stages. In a later stage the diarrhoea becomes "rice water stool".