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Gujarat in the grip of Hepatitis B, 19 killed

Sabarkantha district in western Gujarat is suspected to be in the grip of the deadly Hepatitis B virus.

Gujarat in the grip of Hepatitis B, 19 killed

Sabarkantha district in western Gujarat is suspected to be in the grip of the deadly Hepatitis B virus. At least 19 have died in Modasa taluka in the last two weeks. Gujarat state food and drugs department conducted search operations in various medical stores in Modasa taluka, collected samples of drugs and syringes and sent them to their laboratories for testing. There is a state of panic and emergency in the region, as hundreds of people have been spotted with symptoms of the disease. Hepatitis B virus, also called serum hepatitis, spreads through infected body fluids such as blood, saliva and breast milk. Infection occurs through contaminated blood transfusion, and sharing of contaminated needles or syringes. Till the evening of 17 February seventy cases of Hepatitis B had been registered and 19 people were officially confirmed dead. People in the state are blaming negligence of doctors and unhygienic conditions responsible for the outbreak. Though use of vaccines and safe injection practices greatly decreases the incidence of this infection, good personal hygiene and proper sanitation are also necessary for its prevention. The Sabarkantha administration has declared it an outbreak of suspected Hepatitis B. The condition of the affected patients is said to be serious. Most of them are in the district's civil hospitals. The circumstances have forced the state administration to call state and national level health teams to look into matter. Moreover, an FIR has also been lodged against seven doctors in the district under different clauses of Medical Act.
PTI
February 2009
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