Home / News / India /  'Unknown' illness kills 61 in three years at Chhattisgarh's Sukma village
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The residents of Regadgatta village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh have claimed that nearly 61 villagers have died in the last three years due to an “unknown" illness. The village, located in Konta development block, raised the issue with district authorities who swung into action to know what exactly caused these deaths.

The authorities said that according to preliminary investigations 47 deaths were registered due to reasons like ailments and natural causes.

The officials will send a team of specialists on 8 August for an in-depth study of the village and its environment. They are currently waiting for a detailed report to identify heavy metal content like arsenic in water or soil. Around 130 families are residing in the village which has a population of more than 1000 people.

The villagers also handed over a letter to Sukma District Collector on 27 July, claiming 61 people including young men, and women have died since 2020. The people who passed away had symptoms of swelling on their hands and legs.

After the issue was raised by locals, a team of healthcare personnel and other experts were sent there last week, Sukma collector Harish S told the news agency PTI.

"Preliminary investigation suggests that 47 people died in that village in the last three years but all of them did not die due to the same reason as claimed by the locals," he told PTI.

"Some of the deceased had swelling on their bodies and it could be due to different reasons. Preliminary reports of samples of water sources concluded that fluoride level was more than the limit in two water sources while in some sources, iron content was in excess," he said.

"But as of now, we cannot say that the deaths were caused due to heavy metal content in water as consumption of water carrying high fluoride causes bone weakness and there are no such symptoms in the local population," he said.

"Even high iron content causes complications but sudden deaths cannot happen due to it. There could be other environmental causes. Chronic alcoholic behavior among the population could also be also a possibility (for kidney related ailments), he added. A detailed report to identify heavy metal content like arsenic in water and soil there is awaited," he said.

The team which visited the village conducted medical examinations, in which 41 people were found with swelling on their bodies. They were also suffering from kidney-related problems.

The examination of the villagers revealed high uric acid and creatinine levels. They are being provided treatment and their condition was stable.

"Of them, two highly anaemic patients were admitted to Sukma district hospital," he added.

"Preliminary investigation shows 15 deaths took place in the village this year due to multiple reasons, including renal diseases, old-age related problems and malaria. How many of them died due to renal diseases cannot be confirmed as of now" District's Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Yashwant Dhruv told news agency PTI.

"Out of 20 water sources examined, fluoride content was found to be high in two hand pumps following which it was shut for use while villagers have advised not use eight water sources for drinking purpose as iron content in it was excess then limit," he told PTI.

Some of the villagers have mild symptoms of chronic renal disease and further tests are underway. An ANM (auxiliary nurse midwife) was recently appointed at a sub health centre there.

With Inputs from PTI.

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