Situation needs to be fought on war-like footing, say officials
SHOPIAN: Health experts are alarmed at the number of Hepatitis cases detected in Shopian villages and said, war-like measures should be taken both by state and local bodies to eradicate the epidemic from the area.
According to the official records, 25 cases were registered till April 15 of this year by the Department of Health. After that, the government took an initiative to conduct sampling/tests of the district inhabitants among whom the majority of cases were seen.
The kinds of Hepatitis cases which were found in the area are Hepatitis A, B and C; however the majority of cases are of Hepatitis B and C. The largest number of these cases were found in Vehil, Meminder, Chatwatan, Mangipora, Shamsipora and several other villages in the area.
Chief Medical Officer, Shopian, Dr Abdul Rasheed told Kashmir Reader that till June 14 they have conducted a sampling of 5,000 people of whom 200 persons tested positive for Hepatitis, which includes A, B and C cases.
“Till this date, we have conducted sampling of 5000 people, but it’s mandatory to mention here that these positive cases are subjected to confirmation from Medical College Srinagar and the number of positive cases may change,” he said while adding that confirmation of these cases is mandatory.
Another doctor from Shopian said that both sampling and awareness programme are carried out collectively in those areas of the district where Hepatitis cases were found. “We have involved teachers, doctors, students and several other institutions and bodies to make the people aware about the care and cure of the diseases,” he said.
Sources from the department said that in Meminder area several cases of Hepatitis were found which they linked to the presence of dental clinics. Hepatitis here was caused, according to them, because those who had extracted teeth had got these diseases.
The CMO added that while seeing the rise in cases and after prior verification, the Health department has sealed several medical shops, barber shops and dental clinics that were found to be using unhygienic setups in their shops and were not using disposable needles on the patients who come to them. “Through this medium, we want to tell people to avoid those medical shops that don’t use disposable syringes. Inform the department about them, tell people not to extract teeth from local clinics which don’t have better hygienic setup,” he said while adding that people must inform the department if they found anything like this.
Similarly, he added, barbers at certain places were using a single blade on many customers which also had led to the rise in Hepatitis cases. “People should know not to let barbers shave them with used blades,” he said.
Health experts also advise people to use boiled water since there was also a rise in Hepatitis A cases in the district. Doctors say Hepatitis B can spread through different means including direct contact with infected blood, transfer from mother to baby during birth, a prick from a contaminated needle, intimate contact with a person with the Hepatitis B virus, unsafe sex, using a razor or any other personal item with remnants of infected fluid on it. Patients show symptoms like fatigue, dark urine, joint and muscle pain, loss of appetite, fever, abdominal discomfort, weakness and yellowing of the whites of the eyes (sclera) and skin (jaundice), they said.