Hepatitis Outbreak: Central team begins assessment

Expert Group Comprises Members From National Center For Disease Control


Srinagar, Feb 2: After the outbreak of Hepatitis-C in South Kashmir’s Takiya Magam village, a four-member team of central experts arrived here Saturday to carry out field investigations in and around the village to identify the source of infection.
The survey will help experts to build a database of infected people to facilitate the treatment and prevention plan. It will also assess relative risk associated with the epidemic’s spread and investigate causes of its expansion.
The team comprises of experts from National Center for Disease Control (NCDC)- a microbiologist and two epidemiologists- and a physician specialist from Safdargunj Hospital. An expert from National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, will reach here on Sunday.
“Based on the available clinical, epidemiological and laboratory investigation reports, it is confirmed that the outbreak was due to chronic Hepatitis C viral infection,” said an epidemiologist surveying the area.
Dr Rehana, the State Surveillance Officer, NCDC project said the epidemic was centered mainly in Takiya Magam, but it might involve surrounding villages also. “That is the reason we have done a random sampling of adjoining villages also to prevent spread of infection,” she said.
Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, said a rapid operation was launched to control the epidemic. “We invited expert team from NCDC Delhi and NIV Pune who will visit the place in consultation with the state health authorities,” he said.
Dr Saleem said the mode of transmission was probably from unsafe injection and diagnostic practices by some practitioners in the village and surrounding areas. However, he said, the final confirmation will come only after the central team completes its survey. “We are not only trying to control the epidemic on war footing basis, but also to track the source of the virus. Since the epidemic is more than a decade old, many people at the helm kept it under the carpet,” he added.

The District Development Commissioner Islamabad (Anantnag), Farooq Ahmad Shah, accompanied by Chief Medical Officer and a team of doctors, visited the affected village today.
The DDC while interacting with the villagers assured of providing every possible assistance for the treatment of the affected villagers. “The district administration will provide free medicare to the affected patients who can’t afford the treatment,” DDC told the villagers.
He said that the district administration will also try to rope in Red Cross and various non-governmental organizations.
DDC also urged the villagers to take precautions to prevent the spread of the infection. He also emphasized upon the health department to create awareness among the villagers regarding the infection.
“Any chemist, dental clinic or diagnostic centre which is seen operating in unhygienic conditions will be sealed and strict action will be taken against the owners,” DDC said.
The medicos appealed the people not to use unsterilized syringes or other surgical equipments.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST

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