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Tab on water to check outbreak

Jamshedpur, Feb. 25: A team of experts has advised district health officials to launch an awareness drive and strictly implement food safety rules at eateries to tackle an outbreak of water-borne diseases that comes months after the city was stung by a viral menace.

The two-member team of the state unit of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) — comprising medical officer Pradeep Kumar Singh and epidemiologist Praveen Karn — today visited Tata Main Hospital and collected samples from the Jusco water treatment plant.

“We have collected water samples from the Jusco water treatment plant, which supplies water to all major areas in the city. We will submit the samples to the health department to send it for testing in Calcutta,” said Karn.

The experts also held a meeting with district health officials at circuit house.

“Precautions should be taken immediately to prevent the outbreak from assuming alarming proportions. Waterborne diseases can be controlled by maintaining hygiene and with the right food habits,” said Singh.

State surveillance officer Ramesh Prasad said the health department sent the inspection team following reports of a spurt in the number of waterborne diseases in East Singhbhum.

“We are looking at the situation seriously, as the district has been affected by viral outbreaks for the last two years. We will be forming an action plan to contain the spread of the waterborne disease on the basis of the report submitted by the team,” said Prasad.

After arriving in the city, the health experts visited the thickly populated Dhatkidih area and slums located behind Tata Main Hospital yesterday. They will return to Ranchi tomorrow. According to data available at the district IDSP office, five cases of jaundice, 12 cases of viral hepatitis, 11 typhoid cases and one of cholera have been reported in East Singhbhum this year, until February 23.

District surveillance officer and assistant chief medical officer Swarn Singh said they had identified around 30 localities based on the incidence of the diseases.

Some of the worst-hit areas are Baradwari, Old Baridih, Sonari, slums at Bagbera, Sonari, Farm Area (Kadma), Pipeline Road and Kalimati Road in Sakchi, Burmamines, Dhaktidih, Jugsalai, Adityapur, Jadugora, Kasidih, Azadnagar in Mango, Humepipe area in Bhuiyandih, Shastrinagar, Olidih and Agrico.

The district surveillance unit also plans to approach deputy commissioner Himani Pande for permission to place hoardings at strategic locations.

“We will get pamphlets from the health department, besides content for the hoardings on display at various locations. We will take the DC’s permission in this regard,” said Swarn Singh.

“We are planning a massive awareness drive on prevention of water-borne diseases by adopting hygienic practices. We will take the help of social organisations and various corporate institutions in planning a strategy to spread the message to all parts of the city. It will be on the lines of the drive that we had undertaken during the chikungunya and dengue outbreak last year,” said Swarn Singh.

The campaign will also focus on safe eating habits and avoiding drinking water and food at roadside joints.

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