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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2009, Article ID 692496, 4 pages
Research Article

A Fatal Waterborne Outbreak of Pesticide Poisoning Caused by Damaged Pipelines, Sindhikela, Bolangir, Orissa, India, 2008

1Field Epidemiology Training Programme, National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Indian Council of Medical Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600077, India
2WHO India Country Office, Nirman Bhavan, Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi 110011, India

Received 8 January 2009; Accepted 8 June 2009

Academic Editor: Michael Dourson

Copyright © 2009 Manjubala Panda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. We investigated a cluster of pesticide poisoning in Orissa. Methods. We searched the village for cases of vomiting and sweating on 2 February 2008. We described the outbreak by time, place, and person. We compared cases with controls. Results. We identified 65 cases (two deaths; attack rate: 12 per 1000; case fatality: 3%). The epidemic curve suggested a point source outbreak, and cases clustered close to a roadside eatery. Consumption of water from a specific source (odds ratio [OR]: 35, confidence interval [CI]: 13–93) and eating in the eatery (OR: 2.3, CI: 1.1–4.7) was associated with illness. On 31 January 2008, villagers had used pesticides to kill street dogs and had discarded leftovers in the drains. Damaged pipelines located beneath and supplying water may have aspirated the pesticide during the nocturnal negative pressure phase and rinsed it off the next morning in the water supply. Conclusions. Innapropriate use of pesticides contaminated the water supply and caused this outbreak. Education programs and regulations need to be combined to ensure a safer use of pesticides in India.