Of 61,400 screened people, 712 positive for the virus in the last four years
SRINAGAR: Fresh Hepatitis C cases in Anantnag district have prompted the state government to start mass screening of people in 105 villages in the district.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that public health experts under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) of the health department found 19 fresh Hepatitis C cases last month.
“We screened 2,300 people in Larnoo block and adjoining villages last month and found 19 cases positive for Hepatitis C. Now we have decided to screen 50 percent of the population of the district by the end of this year,” they said.
“The main aim of the latest survey is to find people infected with the Hepatitis C virus. This has been decided after public health workers of the Health and Medical Education Department found fresh cases at Anantnag hospitals,” officials said.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Anantnag, Dr Fazil Ali Kochak has been asked to supervise the mass screening in different villages and hospitals of the district, officials said.
“We have decided to screen people in different villages to contain the spread of the disease,” Dr Kochak said.
According to Ishfaq-ul-Rehman, the manager in charge of IDSP in the district, the screening become necessary after a hospital-based study found nearly 712 persons positive for the virus, out of 61,400 screened in the past four years.
He said nearly 10 villages, including Takia Magam, Sonbari and Sagam, were the worst affected, with nearly 1,114 persons found positive of the total 2,445 screened in a 2013 door-to-door survey.
Officials of IDSP told Kashmir Reader that the survey would be followed by a detailed proposal to recommend a strategy for the treatment of affected people.
“The final decision will be taken only after the screening programme is complete,” said an official.
He stressed upon the local people to adhere to the health department’s guidelines, adopt precautionary measures and maintain proper sanitation and cleanliness in and around the villages. Health department teams are visiting the affected areas to assess the latest situation, he said.
“We are yet to find any epidemic-like situation in any village. However, we are apprehensive that there might be cases in clusters, which is why is why we have decided to screen the people,” the district’s CMO said.
Dr Kochak urged people to co-operate with doctors so that the disease could be controlled immediately and well in time.