80 persons test positive; fresh 200 samples under medical investigation

HEPATITIS OUTBREAK IN SOUTH KASHMIR

MANZOOR-UL-HASSAN

Srinagar, Jan 15: At least 80 persons Tuesday tested positive for Hepatitis C virus in South Kashmir’s Takiya Magam village. This is out of 238 samples taken from the area so far.
 Public Health experts told Greater Kashmir that the initial investigation by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) lab of the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir confirmed that 30 percent of the 238 samples were attested as positive for the Hepatitis C virus in Takiya Magam of Kokernag area in Anantang (Islamabad) district. “There is equal number of males and females infected with the virus,” they said.
 According to them, the suspected source of the outbreak is the unhygienic and unprofessional chemists and diagnostics centers operating in the areas which led to high incidences of infected cases.
 While the Chief Medical Officer of the district, Dr Gulzar Ahmad said the situation was under control and urged villagers not to panic, the public health experts examining the outbreak are concerned that more people could be affected because there are a good number of clinics and diagnostic centres operating in and around the area under unhygienic conditions.
 Dr Rehana Kounsar, State Surveillance Officer said: “Hepatitis C is a terrible illness and viral hepatitis often doesn’t present any symptoms until there’s already damage to liver.”
 “There is no vaccine for it. At present the screening process is going on in the entire community. We will also provide further testing of those people who test positive with the screening test. Treatment is very expensive,” she said.
 According to her an expert team from the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir had taken 102 blood samples from the area on January 11 after Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Anantnag (Islamabad) reported that 6 patients tested positive for Hepatitis C virus. “The team visited the area on January 13 again and took more samples from the people those in close contact with the infected persons,” Dr Rehana said.
 “We have deployed a dedicated team in the area and collected fresh 200 blood samples. These were put under investigations and the results are expected soon,” she said.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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