An Informal discussion between a block health officer and another doctors relatives seems to have alerted the state health machinery that a full blown,unusual Hepatitis B outbreak is in the offing in Modasa. Overworked and shuttling between two primary health centres (PHCs),Dr R L Zeparkar,a Block Health Officer,wryly admitted that he had reported about an unusual hepatitis case in his family during a routine health meeting at the district headquarters in Himmatnagar.
When Karsan Priyadarshi (45),a primary school teacher in nearby Varthu village got unwell,a Modasa-based private practitioner treated him. A mention in a family discussion about his deteriorating condition made Dr Zeparkar curious. Priyadarshi died later in the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.
He was known to my relative. Priyadarshi was being treated at
Dr Bhavesh Patel’s hospital,but his condition continued to worsen and my relative asked me why he was not improving. It made me suspicious and I began inquiring, said Dr Zeparkar,who is posted at Limboi PHC,but has been holding additional charge of Modasa PHC since last month.
While discussing the case informally with Dr Patel,Dr Zeparkar found it was a Hepatitis B positive case. Further queries revealed that an unusual number of Hepatitis B cases were being reported in the area,which led him to report his suspicion to his seniors in an official meeting in Himmatnagar. We came the very next day and started inquiry. Most were found to be Hepatitis B positive,with an unusual rate of high fatality, said Dr H S Patel,the Sabarkantha Chief District Health Officer.
Dr Zeparkar had checked Priyadarshis case with Dr Patel on February 2. His condition deteriorated rapidly on the third day,which was unusual. I referred him to the Apollo Hospital in Ahmedabad,where he spent sometime,but it continued to worsen. Maybe because they could not afford the fees,Priyadarshi was shifted to the New Civil Hospital in Asarva,Ahmedabad. On February 13,he died, said Dr Patel,adding that he now gets arund five Hepatitis B cases in his hospital daily. But another patient,Kishore Chauhan from Bhachadiya village,also died. Dr Zeparkar’s initial observations led the Health department to check with private practitioners in Modasa. They also checked patients referred in Ahmedabad,as the 24 officially dead had expired during treatment in the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.