Cholera outbreak: Cases swell
Minor Dies Of Infection; Alert Sounded In Kupwara, Budgam, Banihal
Srinagar, Aug 29: With a minor dying of severe infection in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district and number of cholera-infected patients in the Valley swelling up to 100, the health authorities Sunday sounded an alert in several areas in Jammu and Kashmir even as the number of patients hit by gastroenteritis and other infectious diseases across the state crossed 3400.
Fearing spread of the disease to non-affected areas, the health authorities have started to rope in Imams, Non Governmental Organizations and different government department “to educate people and try control the disease.” The authorities, however, asserted that influx of patients had fallen drastically.
Well placed sources told Greater Kashmir that over 50 patients with acute cholera like symptoms were received by hospitals in Srinagar, and Budgam where the disease has affected over 56 villages. “Samples of many of these patients have been sent for tests but they are being treated for cholera infection,” they said.
The Director, Health, Muhammad Amin Wani, confirmed that 40 patients from Budgam were being treated for cholera at different hospitals.
“These were the cases of diarrhea outbreak. We have sent the samples for test. But since a good number of cholera cases have already been reported from the district they are being administered treatment for cholera,” he said. At least 70 cases of cholera have already come from the district since yesterday.
Sources said the SHMS hospital here received over 15 cases with cholera-like symptoms. “Preliminary investigation showed that at least 10 patients could have been infected with cholera,” they said, adding the hospital, which has set up a separate ward for the cholera patients, was receiving large number of gastroenteritis cases.
Since August 16 more than 2160 cases of non-specific diarrhea, mixed infection and gastroenteritis were reported in different hospitals of Budgam and tertiary and secondary care hospitals in Srinagar. “It was a massive outbreak. Of them at least 2100 cases were treated and discharged which is quite appreciable. The number of patients is decreasing fast,” claimed Dr Wani.
However health authorities have sounded alert in the entire Kupwara district following increase in number of gastroenteritis patients and death of an infant last night due to severe infection.
Sources said 11-month old Laraib daughter of Muhammad Yusuf Dar of Warpora died last night after being shifted to Handwara hospital. The hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Dr Aleem told Greater Kashmir that Larib was suffering from acute pneumonia.
About gastroenteritis, he said more than 100 patients, mostly from affected areas of Warpora, Magam, Nathnusa and Willgam, were received by the district hospital and other peripheral medical institutes in the past three days.
“The disease has broken out due to unsafe drinking water which has been a major concern for past several years,” said Chief Medical Officer, Handwara, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Khan. He said the health department was using its vehicles fitted with loudspeakers to aware people about the disease and its preventive measures.
An alert has also been sounded in district Budgam too. “Of the 270 villages, at least 56 villages have been affected by the disease like mixed infection, non-specific diarrhea and gastroenteritis. There is no denying the fact that cholera cases have also been reported from these villages. But the number of patients reporting in the district hospitals have decreased drastically,” the CMO Budgam, Dr Abdullah, said.
The health department, he said, has involved other departments including PHE and Sheep Husbandry to reach out to people at grassroots level and educate them. “We have constituted 23 medical teams which are treating the patients and monitoring the situation in the affected areas,” he said.
Sources said the SKIMS Medical College here had received 23 cases including gastroenteritis and infection since yesterday. “The influx of the patients has decreased drastically since yesterday,” said a SKIMS doctor.
For the past one week over 1200 cases of diarrhea and gastroenteritis were reported in hilly region of Doda. “At least 100 patients are still admitted in different hospitals. 30 more cases of diarrhea were received today,” doctors said. Doda town and Marwat have been the worst-hit areas of the district. A control room has been established with the Phone No. 01996-233479 for registration of complaints.
The authorities have also sounded alert in Banihal area of Ramban district where more than 200 patients of gastroenteritis and diarrhea were reported in different districts for the past few days. “At least 50 patients are still hospitalized,” the deputy commissioner Ramban said. The cases of diarrhea were reported from the areas including Lambar, Darshipora, Tantraypora, Gundalkote, Kharpora and Talla Bagh. “The situation was under control but cases were reported from the adjoining areas as well”, BMO Banihal Dr Anwar told Greater Kashmir. He said adequate doctors and medicine were available in the sub district hospital Banihal and doctors from the district hospital Ramban were also assisting the hospital authorities.
He said that an alert has been sounded in the Tehsil. The authorities have asked people to consume only boiled water or uncooked food, which was the main cause of the disease.
The Valley doctors are shocked over the alleged slow response of the government to tackle the serious health concern, saying government should have gone for rigorous Information Education and Communication campaign to control the spread of the disease and aware people about preventive measures. “The number of cholera cases is likely to increase as the disease has not reached its peak when the patients’ number starts to fall. There is a dire need to increase sanitation and quality of drinking water supply to the affected areas,” they said.
But the Director Health asserted that the department has already started massive health education and promotion campaign in the affected areas. “We are roping in Imams, NGOs, and different departments, and have started a door-to-door campaign to educate people at grassroots level. Our response has been timely and adequate,” he said.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS
Experts believe the use of contaminated water for drinking purpose was the main reason for spread of cholera and other infectious diseases which have hit Budgam and other districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Due to incessant rains and sometimes cloudbursts, the fecal matter and other pollution get drained into streams and Nallah and pollute it with bacterial infection. Using this water for drinking purpose causes cholera and other infectious diseases,” said the Director, Health Services Kashmir, Muhammad Amin Wani.
He said the symptoms of the disease were diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in some cases there is vomiting and fever. “People should avoid using direct tap water for drinking purpose and instead take chemically treated and boiled water,” doctors said.
An official in the Public Health Engineering Department said in some cases water supply running in open to an area gets contaminated by the infection resulted from draining of fecal matter into it and hence results in the disease.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 29 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 30 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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