NEW DELHI, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in southern Indian state of Karnataka drained water from a lake after locals said they found the body of a woman infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) floating on it, officials said Thursday.
The water was drained from the lake on demand of local residents in village Morab of Dharwad district, about 440 km northwest of Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka.
"The process of pumping out water from a sprawling lake is going on since Sunday," an official said.
"The move was taken to allay fears among the residents, who believed the water of the lake got contaminated due to drowning of a woman infected with HIV in it."
The lake spread over 23 acres of land locally known as Jagirdar's lake is the only source of drinking water for locals.
According to locals on Nov. 29, the body of a 36-year-old woman infected with HIV was found floating in the lake. Part of the body, locals said, had been eaten by fish, which increased fears that it would spread the infection.
Although health officials say HIV is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse, infected blood and from an infected mother to the baby in her womb or through breastfeeding. However, the discovery of the infected body in lake with some of its flesh eaten away by fish alarmed the villagers.
"The panchayat (rural body) members and staffers tried to convince the villagers that the water was not infected but they did not pay any heed," Nagaraj Bidralli, Panchyat Development Officer said.
"The villagers themselves took the initiative by providing pipes and other equipment required to pump out water from the lake."
Doctors have dismissed claims that the locals risk being exposed to HIV if they consume the water. Health officials says a chlorination treatment could have been undertaken for the satisfaction of villagers.