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Hepatitis-C epidemic in Kokernag village, 300 positive
SRINAGAR, Jan 27: The outbreak of hepatitis C in a remote village of Takiya-Magam, Kokernag has not only created panic among the residents of the area but has also left the health experts in a state of worry as they are yet to find out its exact cause.

After the reports that out of more than 1000 samples taken from the village during last two weeks 300 people have tested positive a team of health and drug officials today visited the village and educated the people about the precautions to be taken to avoid the catching of the virus.

Chief Medical Officer, Anantnag, Dr Gulzar confirming the outbreak of the viral disease in the village said they are trying to arrive at the exact source of the epidemic. “There could be many reasons for the spread of the disease including the use of needles and sexual intercourse but as far as the number of people having been infected so far is concerned we cannot conclude that these could be the only reasons. We too are surprised over the spread of the virus at such an alarming pace,” CMO said.

He further said 30 percent of the cases having acquired the virus have never been administered injection. “We talked to most of the people suffering from the disease but most of them said that they have never been injected in their lives. So we too are surprised as to what actually led to it,” CMO added.

He said that he along with a team of experts today rushed to the village to educate the people about the do’s and don’ts. “Keeping the alarming situation in consideration we have started a campaign in the whole area to make the people aware about the precautions to be taken,” CMO said.

Though the chemists operating in the area are being blamed for the spread of epidemic by some locals, yet the officials say that they have not found any evidence against the chemists which could suggest their involvement.

“After the detection of several cases of hepatitis-C in the village earlier this month a team of drug officials headed by assistant drug controller, Anantnag rushed there and suspended the licenses of all the three medicates of the village for ten days. However during the investigations none of them was found involved in kind of mischief.

Later it was on the demand of the people of the village all the three medical shops had to be unlocked by the district drug authorities,” said a drug official wishing anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Pharmacists Association Anantnag, said the pharmacists are being targeted under a well planned conspiracy. “Some cases have been detected in the area three years back and the health authorities were in slumber during all these years. Now when the epidemic has engulfed the whole village, the authorities in order to save their neck started putting blame on the pharmacists. If any of the pharmacists is found involved in kind of mischief, the association will not leave it to the government but will itself burn down his shop. I can tell you with confidence that it is only an attempt to victimise the pharmacists of the village,” said president of the Pharmacist Association, Majid Majeed.

Villagers have accused the authorities of leaving the entire populace of the village at the mercy of the chemists. “The village is comprising of at least 7000 population but so far the authorities have not bothered to establish even a small dispensary in the area. Last time when their shops were closed by the authorities we had to approach the administration for unlocking their shops as there is no other option for the patients of the area. Now if the authorities blame them for the spread of epidemic then why did not they bother to set up even a small health center in the village,” said Sarpanch of the village.
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News Updated at : Sunday, January 27, 2013
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