Bhubaneswar, Apr 6 (IANS) – At least five people, including four women, have died of fluorosis, a water-borne disease, and nearly 50 have been afflicted in Orissa villages.
The deaths were reported from Balasingha, Balasinghapatna and Singhpur villages in Khurda district, about 60 km from here, over the past week, a local legislator, Prasanta Nanda, said Saturday.
Fluorosis is caused by the high content of fluorine or its compounds in drinking water.
The first symptoms were mottled teeth enamel and thickened bones. Then quick weight loss followed, leading to death.
Nanda also said the entire population of the three villages – nearly 500 people — had developed anaemia, joint pains and dysfunctional kidneys and their teeth were falling out.
The dead were identified as Sakuntala Dalai, 49, Dohita Parida, 38, Patar Dalai, 45, Sakuntala Bhuyan, 78 – all women – and Bhima Mohapatra, 78.
“The condition of five people is serious. If not treated soon they are also going to die,” Nanda said.
A survey of three villages in 1994 had found the fluoride content in the water sources to be as high as 30.5 [ppm], he said.
The state government provided funds for purifying the water and digging new wells. A scheme to supply water through pipes was also introduced but it failed due to the lack of electricity, he said.
“The villagers continued to drink the contaminated water despite warnings,” said health director Hare Krishna Das.
“Also, they also never reported their ailments at the local hospital,” Das told IANS. “We are taking steps to shift the affected people to safer places.”
Nanda said the government had not heeded the villagers’ request for land at an alternative site.
Currently, the government has sanctioned 40 dwelling units in these villages. Their number could be increased, Nanda suggested.