Image source: Discover Odisha Directory

Unknown disease kills 4 in Odisha – 13 more in hospital

In under a month in Odisha, four people died and thirteen others were admitted to a hospital with symptoms of an unknown disease.
Koya tribe in Odisha, which is afflicted by an unknown disease
People of the Koya Tribe
Image source: Tour My India

In under a month in Odisha, four people died and thirteen others were admitted to a hospital with symptoms of an unknown disease. The health department has already launched a probe.


The cases are from the Koya tribe from  the Sorgiguda village of Maithili. Initially, the villagers hesitated in coming to a hospital. Instead, they wanted the local doctors to try diagnosing them. This was because there were never any health centres close to the, so they grew to trust local doctors instead.

Dr Amay Swain, the Maithli block medical officer reported that they came to know of the first case on August 10. However, the villagers refused to come to the hospital even though they had an ambulance. Then, on Saturday, September 12, a team recognised several more patients and finally convinced them to come to the hospital.

Chief District Medical Officer, P K Nanda, reported that all patients are now at the hospital. The women are 55-60 years old, two men are above 50 and the others are 20-30 years old. Authorities tightened the security to ensure they do not leave before treatment.

Similar symptoms of unknown disease in Odisha patients, but reports inconclusive

All of them so far show similar symptoms. There is loss of appetite and acute weakness. Five of them also have malaria. All of them also seem to have anaemia, with haemoglobin levels of 5-7. Normal levels for women are 12.1-15.1 gm/dl and for men are 12.8-17.2 gm/dl. Swollen feet and stomach suggest liver or kidney ailments, but only further testing can confirm anything. The four men who passed away were 21, 28, 52 and 56 years old.

The ones under treatment are taking multi-vitamin supplements and antibiotics. In their village, they mainly consume pakhal (rice and water) and local liquor. Therefore, they are also on a better diet now.

Similar outbreak in April in another village

Such an outbreak was not in this village. But, earlier, there was one in the Kenduguda village of Malkangiri in summer. Back then, 15 people died in three months from April with similar symptoms. However, the report submitted to the government was inconclusive. Even now, the samples of food, drinkable water and liquor show no indications of causing harm.

The village is, however, naturally terrified as many people are being affected. The issue requires serious attention.

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