Growing number of Hepatitis-C cases alarming: DAK

Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Friday said that hepatitis-C virus (HCV) infection has affected large number of people in the valley and has reached alarming proportions.
In a statement, president DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan said that 65 positive cases and eight deaths due to HCV infection in Saagam village of Kokernag was alarming and the figure was an underestimate as majority of people either do not reveal or were reluctant for tests.
“HCV is a silent killer that leads to dreaded complications of liver failure and cancer but can be cured by antivirals.”
He said that two years back 30 percent of population of two twin villages of Takia-Magam and Sonbarie of Kokernag were infected with HCV but government allegedly failed to provide treatment to them “which led to loss of lives and spread of disease to other areas and have put whole population at risk.”
“Despite High Court directions to provide free treatment to these HCV positive patients and take effective measures to control the spread of disease, authorities were indifferent which resulted in colossal HCV epidemic.”
He said that it was revealed by health experts that HCV spread in twin villages was because of poor health practices “but health officials did not take action against unhygienic clinics and in fact allowed them to operate.”
“Blood banks are also responsible for HCV epidemic in valley as they do not screen blood by recommended NAT technology and have infected many persons receiving blood and blood related products,” Hassan alleged.
He alleged that health officials, rather than being proactive in this “iatrogenic human tragedy,” are concealing facts and are in denial mode.