Reports say, negligence on the part of civic officials and staff led to widespread water contamination.
It's a near-epidemic situation, said the District Medical Officer Yasmin. Hospitals have been flooded with patients complaining of vomiting, frequent motions and fever. According to officials, the first death was reported on March 5, while two more died the next day and another three persons on March 7.
The District Collector, K Sasidhar, has done a door to door survey with health officials and has asked the health centres to stock up necessary medicines and IV fluids.
Teams to inspect the water supply pipelines have been formed by Mr Sasidhar, who is personally overseeing repair of leakages. Special medical camps have been organised in the worst affected colonies of Anandapet, Sangadigunta, Old Guntur, Ali Nagar, KVP Colony and Sarada Colony.
An emergency meeting was called by the Municipal Commissioner C. Anuradha on Saturday, after which super chlorination was done to control contamination.
Ripe garbage and open drains next to drinking water points have been seen in several localities of Guntur. Residents allege, drinking water and sewage pipelines are side by side for decades.
After the outbreak of gastroenteritis, the Guntur civic body has gone on an overdrive trying to replace existing water pipelines, which were laid 30 years ago, say residents, and as a result water supply has been stopped in Anandapet and Sangadigunta, leading to acute water crisis.
Bottled water is also not available as the authorities have cracked down on local bottling plants to stop contamination. Branded bottled water is selling at three times the price, claim residents.
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each family where an adult died and Rs 2 lakh for death of child below 10.