Hepatitis-C cases up, Rohtak docs blame barbers, quacks

  • Neeraj Mohan, HindustanTimes, Rohtak
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2016 14:16 IST

The carelessness on part of the non-registered medical practitioners and barbers is the big reason behind spread of deadly Hepatitis-C.

The matter came to light in a recent research conducted by the gastroenterology department of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science (PGIMS) here, in which it was found that barbers and non-registered medical practitioners were helping spread of Hepatitis-C by not changing towels, shavers (ustras), blades and needles while attending to their customers.

Dr Praveen Malhotra, senior professor of the PGIMS’ gastroenterology department, said, “In the research we had collected data of 25,000 patients and it was found that 70% of the patients received the virus from unsterilised needles and shavers”.

“Also most of the patients coming to the PGIMS are from Punjab and drug abuse too was a reason behind spread of the virus,” he said, adding, “More than 1,000 patients of Hepatitis-C have been registered at the PGIMS, Rohtak, in 15 days.”

He said the state government was taking steps to ensure cheap treatment to the Hepatitis-B and C patients.

“Medicines for the ‘Type C’ virus were available free of cost for the patients coming from economically backward families and for the general patients the treatment was cheapest in the country, he said.

Now, the state government has inked an agreement with more companies and treatment will cost general category patients Rs 8,000 per month under the Jeevan Rekha project.

According to the doctors, the Hepatitis-B and C viruses spread when blood, semen, or another bodily fluid from an infected person enters the body of another.

The virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV. The patients do not come to know soon after they get infected, increasing the chances of virus affecting others, said the doctor.

A team of doctors also started an awareness programme in Rohtak to sensitise barbers about the precautions they should take.

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