Experts blame kidney diseases in Uddanam on contaminated water

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: A team of experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and AP Ministry of Health led by Dr NTR University of Health Sciences Vice-Chancellor T Ravi Raju, have found that contaminated water is the cause of mysterious kidney disease that has been afflicting the people of Uddanam area in Srikakulam district for more than a decade. The team after completing the first leg of their visit to the area has submitted a preliminary report to Minister for Health Kamineni Srinivas.

The team’s visit followed the tour of Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan to the area a month ago and setting deadline to both the State and the Central governments to set things right. Acting on his statement, the State and the Central governments have formed the team to visit the area and study the problem. The governments have also sanctioned dialysis centres for the area as the victims have been travelling to Visakhapatnam.

Kamineni said that the initial reports have found that the presence of silica in the groundwater is responsible for the kidney disease among the people in the area. The State government had already promised to supply purified drinking water for the people from March 1. If the promise materializes, that would save them from falling prey to the mysterious disease.   

The ICMR team comprising nephrologists and professors from National Institute of Epidemiology conducted a day-long workshop for patients in Visakhapatnam on February 6. As part of their inspection, the experts have collected the blood samples of 9,000 patients and analyzed them.  Then they came to know that majority of them were in stage-III condition, where dialysis would not able to cure the disease. The experts are suspecting that mixing of cashew nut shell powder with tea is also one of the reasons for the spread of kidney disease. Later, the team also collected blood samples from the patients in Sompeta and came to know that five per cent of them were in stage-V condition.

The Health Minister said that centres will be established shortly in Srikakulam district to treat patients who are in stage-I, II and III. Nephrologists have been directed to create awareness on the disease among the people. Further treatment will be provided to stage-IV and V patients, he said. 

The State government has sanctioned two more dialysis centres at Sompeta and Palasa in addition to the existing centres at Srikakulam, Palakonda and Tekkali.

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