Jaundice probe bares faecal contamination

The jaundice outbreak in Dhatkidih that affected more than 400 residents since July was caused by the hepatitis E virus that is primarily transmitted orally owing to faecal contamination of drinking water, the probe by a two-member team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has concluded.

By Our Special Correspondent in Jamshedpur
  • Published 30.08.18
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Jamshedpur: The jaundice outbreak in Dhatkidih that affected more than 400 residents since July was caused by the hepatitis E virus that is primarily transmitted orally owing to faecal contamination of drinking water, the probe by a two-member team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has concluded.

Senior epidemic intelligence service officers of NCDC Shuja Qadri and K.V. Anthony Dzeyie, who are in the steel city since August 20, submitted their 14-page report to East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amit Kumar on Wednesday evening.

"The outbreak was indeed caused by water contamination. Investigations have revealed that faecal matter seeped into drinking water at local sites. The team has ruled out contamination at Jusco's water treatment plant, storage tanks and main water pipelines," said civil surgeon Dr Maheshwar Prasad who received a copy of the probe report.

The report has also been sent to the state health department and Union health ministry, besides Jusco.

The NCDC report mentions that till August 28, a total of 402 viral hepatitis cases had been identified.

It states that blood samples of patients sent to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Calcutta and water samples from Dhatkidih sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune had tested positive for the hepatitis E virus and E. Coli bacteria, respectively, confirming faecal contamination of drinking water in the area.

Deputy commissioner Kumar said measures would be taken based on recommendations in the report that had outlined public health action to be taken jointly by urban local bodies, Jusco and the health department in Dhatkidih and its nearby areas.

"We will discuss the matter with Jusco and address the issues at the earliest," DC Kumar said.

As short-term measures, the central disease surveillance team has sought clearing of all blocked sewage lines, identification and repair of leaks, encouraging the practices of boiling water before drinking and washing hands before eating, chlorination of overhead tanks and continued surveillance for at least three months.

The long-term recommendations of NCDC include regular health education activities, identification of illegal water connections and taking steps to plug them, replacement of old sewage and water pipelines and construction of additional toilets.