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Chhattisgarh News
Chhattisgarh under threat of swine flu and jaundice

RAIPUR: While swine flu, with three more deaths and 26 confirmed cases in Chhattisgarh, has been hogging the attention of health department and media, jaundice (Hepatitis E) outbreak in Raipur has also claimed two lives since January this year and has infected more than 360 people.

The disease had claimed 20 lives in 2014. The outbreak, which started in the last couple of months of 2014 due to contaminated drinking water with seepage from sewage pipelines in DD Nagar, has been continuing unabated, despite claims of authorities of taking adequate steps to control the spread of disease.

Health department has now been forced to seek assistance from Epidemic Intelligence Services (EIS) of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi, who has dispatched an officer to investigate the cause behind the outbreak. Confirming the move, state Integrated Disease Surveillance Project's (IDSP) deputy director, Dr SMM Murthy said this process might take about a fortnight.

He said the EIS officer would try to ascertain the source of the outbreak and the mode of its transmission, besides proposing ways to control its spread.

According to corporation officials, while last year's jaundice outbreak was in DD Nagar, the epicentre of disease this time has been Hirapur.

However, the suspected cause remains the same, contaminated water with leaks from sewage pipes. Corporation officials claim that while sewage pipes were changed in DD Nagar post jaundice outbreak, water supply in Hirapur is not directly in their domain, as Raipur Development Authority (RDA) handles it. The officials, however, said on RDA's request, RMC had undertaken the work of replacing faulty pipelines and the same had been completed.

They also claimed that additional precautions, including cleaning of water and septic tanks, are being taken.

Incidentally, post 2014 outbreak of hepatitis in city, a PIL was filed in high court seeking directions to the authorities to take necessary steps to control the spread of the disease and fixing accountability on officers responsible for the outbreak. High court had issued notices to the administration and the next date of hearing for the case is on March 5.

Meanwhile, a senior health official said viral hepatitis, caused by A and E viruses, is a major public health problem in India.

Out of six different types of viral hepatitis known (A, B, C, D, E, and G), hepatitis E virus (HEV) is responsible for the outbreak as well as sporadic cases of hepatitis in developing countries.