Bhubaneswar: With the authorities confirming Sunday the death of one more patient, the toll from jaundice in Odisha's Sambalpur town since May has risen to 17.
Saroja Devi, 25, died at a hospital in Burla, 14 km from the district headquarters town of Samablpur Friday, Chief District Medical Officer J.K. Samantaray told IANS. She was pregnant, he said.
A filthy drainage system and damaged water supply pipelines are being blamed for the spread of the disease in the town that has a population of nearly two lakh.
The official said the water meant for drinking was contaminated because of the leakages in the rusty supply pipelines.
Nearly 1,270 people in the town have been infected by the disease since May, he added.
Although only three to four cases are reported daily as compared to the 20-30 cases reported daily earlier on, the situation is not fully under control despite taking several measures, he added.
The administration has stopped the supply of drinking water through pipelines and is using tankers to meet the demand.
Health officials have launched a door-to-door campaign and are urging people to drink boiled water only.
NGO Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) said the Mahanadi river which supplies water to the city has been heavily polluted as huge quantities of sewage water and solid waste is discharged into it.
"At least 40 percent of the city residents defecate in open. More than 10,000 people defecate every day on the banks of the river," WIO convenor Ranjan Panda said.