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Epidemic in Kokernag village: More medical teams visit affected areas
Srinagar, Feb 1: More medical teams visited the hepatitis C affected areas of Kokernag today. A team of doctors from New Delhi is also expected there tomorrow.

Director SK Institute of medical sciences (SKIMS) and noted gastroenterologist Dr Showkat Zargar today apprehended that bad sexual practices might be responsible for the outbreak of Hepatitis-C infection in Kokernag village of Anantnag district. He added that nearly 45 percent of the 50 samples collected in the first phase have tested positive.

“We visited the village and found that many locals visit other parts of the country for business purposes. Besides this, there is a huge chunk of population who are mainly drivers. We have apprehensions that the epidemic has spread due to bad sexual practices in the area,” Dr Zargar said.

He said that out of 50 samples collected by the SKIMS, nearly 45 percent have tested positive. He said in the second phase 350 samples have been collected from the affected village and the results of which are expected to come in a day or two.

“We are hopeful in a day or two; we will be able to get the results of the samples collected in the second phase. This is a 15-year-old epidemic. We have apprehension that not only this village, but the adjoining villages might be affected. We’ll collect the samples from there by weekend,” he said.

“The first phase of testing samples determines the percentage of infection. And the second phase called genotype will determine the exact source of virus. We will soon come to know what triggered the epidemic,” Dr Zargar added.

Pertinently, noted gastroenterologist Dr Mohammad Sultan Khuru, who visited the affected villages and collected 100 samples, had ruled out the outbreak due to the use of needles and syringes. He had maintained that the infection has come from a common source.

Stressing the need for spreading awareness about the viral infection, Dr Zargar said that the SKIMS will hold awareness camps in the affected villages and its adjoining areas very soon. He said such infections show symptoms after a long duration of time.

Meanwhile, Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, who also visited the affected area today, said that the health department has approached Union Health Ministry and a team of noted gastroenterology from NCDC are arriving here tomorrow.

“We are not only trying to control the epidemic on war footing basis, but also trying to track the source of the virus. Since the epidemic is more than a decade old, many people at the helm kept it under the carpet,” he added.
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News Updated at : Friday, February 1, 2013
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