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Page last updated at 08:06 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 09:06 UK

India announces cholera 'reward'

By Sanjaya Jena in Bhubaneshwar

A young boy collects water from a tanker in South Asia (file picture)
Cholera is usually spread through contaminated food or water

The government in the eastern Indian state of Orissa has announced a cash award to any person volunteering to bring a cholera patient to a hospital.

The award of 200 rupees ($4) has been announced after three cases of cholera were detected in the state recently.

The government hopes that the reward will work as an incentive for people to report patients suffering from the deadly disease.

A recent outbreak of diarrhoea has already claimed 26 lives in Orissa.

The deaths have been reported in several villages in the Kalahandi district.

The three cholera cases have also been reported from the same district, which is one of the poorest in India.

Cholera is usually spread through contaminated food or water and can be fatal if left untreated.

Orissa health minister Prasanna Acharya said the cholera patients treated and discharged from government hospitals will also be paid 200 rupees and given some clothing.

Officials say the government had been forced to announce these incentives as many people living in remote villages refuse to go to hospitals despite suffering from the disease.

Instead, they offer prayers because they believe they contracted the disease because of the "wrath of God", officials say.

More than 100 people died in a major outbreak of cholera two years ago in the Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts of Orissa.



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