Cholera cases in Bengaluru confirmed
Cholera cases in Bengaluru confirmed?Flickr/SuSanA Secretariat

In what sounds like nothing short of a double blow and never ending nightmare for the residents of Bengaluru, the city already grappling with water crisis, might be staring in the face of a possible cholera outbreak. While some local reports citing doctors from private hospitals claim that the cholera cases in the capital city have spiked by 50% due to contamination of street food, state health authorities are yet to confirm any such development.

Cholera Bacteria
Vibrio cholerae (Representational Picture)Pixinio

Although many publications report that one case of a cholera patient has been confirmed in the Malleshwaram area, and the samples from two other suspected cases from the same locality have been sent for testing. A 27-year-old woman in Malleshwaram was hospitalized on March 30 with cholera-like symptoms, but later those tests came negative, said BBMP.

On Friday, the Karnataka Health and Family Department asserted that there was no cholera outbreak in the state, even as 47 students of Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) Girls' Hostel were admitted to hospital in suspected case of food poisoning. The dean and director, BMCRI, Dr Ramesh Krishna K, however, later stated that the girls "have been diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis."

To prevent spread of both fear and panic and the outbreak, Bengaluru's municipal corporation has issued an advisory on the seasonal diseases and a list of cautionary measures.

BBMP issues advisory

BBMP's health department, as a part of the preventive measures, has advised all zonal health and medical officers to be on alert and put together rapid response teams to tackle any possible outbreak. In its list of advisory, the BBMP has also asked hotels, restaurants and cafes to serve boiled drinking water to guests.

With Bengaluru already grappling one of its worst water crisis, fears of a possible cholera outbreak and other contaminated water-borne diseases have been weighing on in public consciousness ever since. Once again, a political blame game, surrounding the health issue, ensued. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during a media interaction by the state's BJP unit, said that Bangalore was facing a cholera outbreak while Dinesh Gundu Rao, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, was quick to respond that they were nothing but lies and false fears. " Tagging Nirmala Sitharaman, he posted on his social media account, "She is back to lying and at the same time defaming Bengaluru. There is no cholera outbreak in Namma Bengaluru nor is cholera completely eradicated anywhere in the country. Please get your facts right."

However, as per a report published on Saturday, of the 47 female students admitted to hospital in suspected cases of gastroenteritis, two cholera cases have been confirmed while a report is pending on the third one. Following which, the authorities suspended the hostel warden on Saturday.