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Mystery disease leaves two girls dead in Haryana village

May 23rd, 2010 SindhToday

Chandigarh, May 23 (IANS) Panic has spread in Samlehri village of Haryana’s Ambala district after two girls died and 40 other patients were referred to a hospital following a mysterious disease.

Both girls, Disha and Priyanka, died Saturday of a disease that could not be readily identified.

Senior district and health officials led by Additional Deputy Commissioner Renu Phulia and civil surgeon Narender Chaudhary rushed to the affected village Sunday to take stock of the situation arising out of the spread of the mysterious disease.

Swelling on legs and mouth and pain in body are the symptoms of this disease, health officials said.

Of the 40 other people affected by the disease, nearly half were children and their condition was being closely monitored by doctors at a private hospital at Babiyal town under supervision of health department doctors.

Villagers initially expressed apprehension that the disease could have been caused by contaminated water supplied to the village. Public health officials collected samples of the water in the village and sent it for testing.

Public health executive engineer S.K. Bhatia said the water in the village was fit for drinking. Even the water supply pipes have been checked for any contamination or leakage, he added.

The team of officials who visited the village said that one of the suspects was a village shopkeeper who used to sell mustard oil brought from Uttar Pradesh.

“The oil sold by the shopkeeper might be adulterated or spurious, as most of the people using this oil had fallen ill. The samples of the oil have been sent to the laboratory for testing and the shopkeeper has been forbidden to sell the oil,” one official, who visited the village, said.

The district administration and health department has deputed a team of doctors, laboratory technicians and five ambulances to examine other villagers and monitor the situation.

The additional deputy commissioner appealed to villagers to exercise restraint, beware of rumours and not to believe that the disease was a curse of god.

Civil surgeon Narender Chaudhary said efforts are being made to find out the reasons for the disease and further comments on the disease can be made only after receiving report of the samples of water and mustard oil.

Samlehri village is 60 km from here.

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