by Jayashree on  August 31, 2007 at 4:56 PM Indian Health News
Death Toll from Cholera in Eastern India Jumps to 166
The death toll from an outbreak of cholera in eastern India has jumped by over 50 percent in two days to 166 with many more people being treated for the disease, officials said Friday.

Government administrators in the four affected districts in the poverty-stricken state of Orissa supplied the cholera death toll, which stood at 105 on Wednesday, to AFP.

But the opposition said around 500 people have died from cholera and attacked the government for not declaring an epidemic.

Officials denied they were facing a cholera epidemic and insisted that the situation was under control.

"We have no epidemic," Orissa health secretary Chiny Basu said in state capital Bhubaneswar.

The health control room in Bhubaneswar set up to monitor the outbreak of the disease said over 6,000 people were being treated for cholera and dysentery. Authorities could supply no break-up of the figures.

The victims contracted the illness from drinking dirty water and contaminated food, officials said.

More doctors had been dispatched to districts affected by the outbreak of disease, Basu said.

"The administration is taking every possible step to counter cholera," Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Wednesday.

The cholera outbreak erupted last week in the districts of Rayagada and Koraput, 500 kilometres (310 miles) southwest of Bhubaneswar, officials said.

It has spread to Kalahandi and Gajapati districts, officials said.

"It is the complacency of the government that has led to the situation," said opposition Congress state leader J.B. Patnayak, who has called for the government's resignation.

"This is an epidemic," he said.

Source: AFP

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