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India: Bengaluru’s ‘cholera outbreak'

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  • India: Bengaluru’s ‘cholera outbreak'


    Bengaluru’s ‘cholera outbreak’ and why migrant labourers must be treated better
    While the health department denies there is an outbreak, doctors insist there is – but the larger problem is how builders treat their workers.

    Reshma Ravishanker
    Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 13:31

    On December 29, 2017, Srikanth Sahoo, a migrant labourer from Odisha working at the construction site of Sobha Developers in Bengaluru’s Varthur was brought dead to the St John’s Hospital in Koramangala. Along with him came 30 other co-workers, with symptoms like nausea and diarrhoea. On December 30, another worker died. Doctors at the hospital confirmed on that day that the two dead and other ill workers were infected with cholera.

    The death of the two men set alarms bell ringing in the department, and the it swung into action to contain the spread of the infectious disease. By the end of the first week of January, at least 7 people tested positive for cholera, and the testing is still ongoing.

    Officials of the state health department vehemently deny that there is a cholera outbreak, but doctors at St John’s Hospital insist that there is one. Outbreak or not, officials of the health department say that they have taken action to prevent further spread of the infection. Dr BK Krishnappa, Medical Officer at the Primary Health Centre in Varthur, says that they have conducted awareness camps in the Varthur area, installed water purifiers at the construction site and also changed the source of the water used for consumption.

    While health officials clamoured to prevent the spread of the disease, what has clearly emerged as the larger problem is how we treat migrant labourers...