The shut male surgical ward of the Alipurduar subdivisional hospital
Alipurduar, Sept. 2: The male surgical ward of the subdivisional hospital here has been shut for the past seven days for fear of the spread of tetanus after a man suspected to be carrying the infection was admitted.
The patient from Samuktala was admitted to the surgical ward on August 26 and doctors immediately sent him to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri as he was suspected to have tetanus.
The surgical section was shut the next day and all patients there were shifted to the male medical ward.
Tetanus is caused by a toxin produced by the Clostridium tetani bacteria. The bacteria cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. They produce spores that are difficult to destroy as they are resistant to heat and many chemical agents.
“C. tetani can be found in the soil and in the intestines and faeces of many animals and humans. The bacteria usually enter the human body through a puncture,” said a doctor. Tetanus is not spread from person to person, he added.
The hospital authorities have collected 40 swab samples from several patients and sent them to the NBMCH for tests.
Sujoy Bishnu, the superintendent of the subdivisional hospital, said the male surgical ward would remain shut for at least 10 more days as the test reports were unlikely to come before that.
“When the doctors and nursing staff on duty reported to me that a patient from Samuktala might be suffering from tetanus, I immediately directed that he be shifted to the NBMCH. We took his swab samples and of other patients and sent them for examination to NBMCH. I think it will take at least another 10 days for the test results to come and till then, the surgical ward will remain closed,” Bishnu said.
With the transfer of around 30 patients from the surgical ward, the medical ward is overcrowded now.
“The medical ward has 58 beds. But it has more than 60 patients now after the closure of the surgical ward. The hospital caters to patients not only from the Alipurduar subdivision but also from Lower Assam. There is no isolation ward at the hospital,” said Swapan Bhaduri, the secretary of the Alipurduar branch of Red Cross Society.
He said many of the patients had got themselves discharged from the hospital fearing the spread of tetanus and took admission to private nursing homes.