Jammu and Kashmir government today said steps like construction of toilets in rural areas have been taken for preventing outbreak of diseases and making the state free from open defecation by the end of this year.
"Measures are being taken by the government to make the state open defecation free by the end of this year and more Individual Household Latrines (IHL) will be constructed in villages," an official spokesman said here.
He said 1.33 lakh such latrines have been constructed during the current financial year out of which 240 were constructed in Chek-wanigund village in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, where an outbreak of jaundice was reported recently.
He said the outbreak of the water-borne disease in the village may have been caused by open defecation.
A team of doctors and experts of Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDPS) led by the Chief Medical Officer of Kulgam visited the affected village and collected two water samples and 35 blood samples from the people, he said.
Eight blood samples were found to be Hepatitis-E positive and patients have been put on treatment, the spokesman said, adding no pregnant woman has been affected in the village with population of 1545.
"People have been informed to take preventive measures and use safe drinking water and dispose off the sanitary waste properly," the spokesman said.
He said a door-to-door survey was conducted in the area and people were made aware of prevention and transmission modes of viral Hepatitis.
The spokesman also appealed people to avoid defecation in open in order to prevent contamination of water sources.