Representative image. Photo courtesy - Infectious News

The Meghalaya Health Department has demanded strong action against the circulation of a fake message which stated that strange sickness has affected many people in East Garo Hills district and they have been admitted to Williamnagar Civil Hospital.

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The Department has sought action as the fake message was sensitive and has caused panic among the people especially after many persons have died in Kerala following the outbreak of Nipah virus.

State Surveillance Officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) in Meghalaya, Dr L M Pdah clarified that the Whatsapp message which stated that people are getting strange sickness after eating litchi is totally false.

Dr Pdah also discussed with the Medical Superintendent (MS) of Williamnagar Civil Hospital, Dr J Marak who clarified that there was no truth and there was no doctor by the name of Dr Basonti R Sangma in Williamnagar Civil Hospital or in Williamnagar.

“The MS has urged not to entertain this type of false rumour that is scaring people. This also falls under cyber crime and action should be taken against those spreading false rumours,” the MS told Dr Pdah.

He also said that no suspected case of Nipah virus was detected in Meghalaya, but the State has been alerted, and all district medical and health officers have been asked to strengthen the rapid response teams (RRTs) under IDSP and take preventive measures.

The fake message stated that many people were admitted in Williamnagar Civil Hospital with strange sickness.

The fake message also quoted one doctor, by the name Dr Basonti R Sangma from Williamnagar who said that the sickness was caused after eating litchi.

“She (Dr Basonti) said that if it is going on like this, thousands of people will die within a week. Please tell the children not to eat litchi. The litchis are eaten by bats and people are getting strange sickness.  It is affecting Fr James Sangma also. He went to various doctors but the sickness cannot be cured,” the fake message said.

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