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Post Amarnath yatra, health alert in Kashmir's Ganderbal after diarrhea outbreak

india Updated: Aug 06, 2012 19:40 IST
Ashiq Hussain
Ashiq Hussain
Hindustan Times
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Medical authorities in Kashmir have sounded an alert after an unusual number of Diarrhea cases were reported in Ganderbal district, one of the base camps of annual Amarnath Yatra which culminated on august 02.

At least 15 people have been infected after the outbreak of Diarrhoea in many villages of Kangan including Rayil, Kullan, Gund, Haknar and Fraw, 30 km north-east of Srinagar.

Medical Officer of Gund Primary health centre , Dr Shafi Ahmad confirmed that 15 patients admitted in the center were having symptoms of Diarrhoea.

He informed that it was mostly due to the consumption of contaminated water whose source is rivers, streams and ponds of the district. People in affected areas have been asked to consume boiled water.

Chief Medical Officer of the district, Dr Dildar Mir however denied that it was an outbreak saying ‘some cases have been reported from a scattered population’.

“There is no need to worry, as some cases in this time of the year are usual,” Mir said. “However we are vigilant keeping in view the completion of Amarnath Yatra. There have been reports of open defecation by the pilgrims which is the main cause of the disease,” he said.

“I have directed all my officers to keep a track of the situation and report every new case to the higher authorities,” the CMO said.

Over 6.2 lakh pilgrims visited the holy cave of Amaranth, situated at a height of 13,500 feet, passing through ice cold waters and glaciers. The streams from the glacier are a source of water to Lidder in Pahalgam and river Sindh in Ganderbal district.

Officials informed that of the total pilgrims who visited the shrine, around 1.5 lakh were unregistered. Not allowed to put up at the base camps, these pilgrims halt vehicles on the river banks to defecate and urinate. The shrine board had set up hundreds of lavatories at base camps and on the trekking routes, but locals said that unawareness among the pilgrims was also contributing to the pollution.