February 26, 2009 1:25:47 am
Vaccination drive on,scrap dealer nabbed with used needles,syringes
The official mass vaccination programme continued on the third day in Modasa on popular demand,thereby taking the figure of those immunised beyond 71,000 the biggest ever mass Hepatitis B vaccination drive in the world by far. On Wednesday evening the district authorities apprehended a scrap dealer with a bulk of used needles and syringes.
The crackdown is considered serious,for the state health officials have already admitted that the mutated Hepatitis B Virus outbreak in Modasa could be due to the use of infected syringes or needles. They have ruled out other possibilities of infection,as the virus is transmitted only through blood. The authorities are now trying to ascertain from where the medical waste came and where it was being taken to.
The official death toll rose to 48 with the admission of nine new cases on Wednesday. A total of 154 patients have already been diagnosed with the mutated virus strain in and around Modasa. There are no signs yet of the outbreak being contained.
Sabarkantha District Collector R Thennaresan said that acting on a tipoff,they raided a roadside scrap dealer named Savji Rabari,who operated right from the bustling Shamlaji Road,near hospitals and medical stores. The haul included syringes as well as used injections of different make. The district health authorities,who also rushed to the spot,admitted that it was clear that the prescribed rules to dispose of bio medical waste are not being followed. This has now brought private medical practitioners under the scanner.
Several other scrap dealers were also raided,but it was only from Rabari that incriminating material was seized. He is being interrogated by the authorities,who said they are yet to establish any linkages with the outbreak.
Dr Yogesh Upadhyaya,Secretary,Indian Medical Association,Modasa chapter,was also present on the spot with other doctors during the haul. He appeared to be on the defensive for the medical fraternity and said it is not necessary that the doctors will again use infected syringes.
Earlier,the health authorities lodged a police complaint alleging culpable homicide against Dr Govind Patel and his son Dr Chintan Patel. The duo is accused of being largely responsible for triggering the outbreak from their clinic,as they used infected needles and syringes. Their names frequently cropped up in case histories traced down from the kith and kin of those dead or afflicted by the virus. The two doctors are absconding with the police trying to trace their whereabouts by questioning their relatives elsewhere in the district.
Since the outbreak,the Health Department has called for avoiding any form of injection to avoid contamination. Random checks at guest houses,medical stores,non allopathic doctors as well as nursing homes in Modasa have become the order of the day.
Centre asks all states to make auto-disposable syringes mandatory
The Central government on Wednesday asked all the state governments to ensure that auto-disposable (AD) syringes are used at all medical facilities. In Modasa,157 people have been diagnosed with the disease and 48 deaths have been reported,said Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss. We have requested that auto-disposable syringes be used in all the state-run hospitals and medical facilities from April 1. We have sent circulars to that effect, he said. The health minister further said that there is a need for a deeper probe as to what caused the infections,as it can only be transmitted only through blood and sexual routes. We have to identify what it is and take steps, he added.
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