Malkangiri deaths could be due to consumption of country liquor, claims official

Malkangiri deaths could be due to consumption of country liquor, claims official

The recent deaths of eight people including a seven-year-old tribal child in Odisha’s Malkangiri may be attributed to liver and kidney failure triggered by excess consumption of country liquor, an official in the tribal dominated district has claimed.

On Tuesday, a 7-year-old tribal child in Haladikund village under Mathili block of the district died after his legs swelled up unusually, as the death toll rose to 8. “All those who died had fever and sudden swelling in their hands and legs. So far six people have died in the village. We are in panic as more people in the village are also suffering from fever,” said a villager.

Chief district medical & public health officer of Malkangiri, Prafulla Nanda said chronic alcohol consumption is the cause of the unknown disease that has claimed 8 lives.

“We got to know about the reason after conducting a test on one such patient who was admitted to the Mathili sub-division hospital. The villagers were reluctant to visit hospitals and trusted quacks which led to deterioration of their health condition. I personally visited the affected villages in the district. The patients were complaining of swelling of the legs and abdomen. Blood and urine samples, liver profiles, and kidney profiles of 70 persons were tested. Water samples of the area were also tested. From the symptoms that we see the deaths most likely occurred due to excess consumption of country liquor,” he said.

The CDMO claimed that even children are consuming alcohol. “A 4-year-old child with symptoms of kidney failure triggered by excess alcohol consumption is now being treated in hospital. His mother is among the 8 persons who died due to excess alcohol consumption,” he added.

In September 2020, at least 10 Koya tribals in two villages of Mathili block died after complaining of swollen legs and stomach and unremitting fever. According to doctors, the deaths were due to alcoholism and the unwillingness of the tribals to go to local health centres fearing Covid-19. “As it is, most of the villages are situated at least 10 km away from the nearest health centres and travelling is not easy. Now because of Covid, many tribals are avoiding hospitals,” said a doctor.

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