Patients do not come for tests due to lack of awareness; More than half the cases reported from Malwa region
The Hush Post: Punjab has reported over 51, 000 cases of Hepatitis C in two years as per the health and family welfare department data.
The Malwa region ( Ludhiana, Bathinda, Sangrur, Tarn Taran, Moga, Muktsar, Fatehgarh Sahib) tops the list with 60% of the total cases reported from here. Sangrur district alone recorded 7,404 cases, the highest in the state, followed by Tarn Taran, Muktsar and Patiala.
51,016 cases were reported between June 7, 2016, and August 18, 2018 according to data available. Hepatitis C is a disease that causes inflammation and infection of the liver. There’s no vaccine for hepatitis C and is highly contagious with its virus transmitted by sharing of syringe and needles, sexual contact, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. It is characterised by fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Giving reasons for the rise in hepatitis C cases in the Malwa region, particularly in Sangrur, state hepatitis programme officer Dr Gagandeep Grover told a national daily that patients do not come for tests due to lack of awareness. He said the state health department was making efforts to identify the patients in an initial stage. If the affected persons diagnosed with Hepatitis C begin treatment at an early stage, the patients can be cured within six months, doctors say.
In 2017, the state government had signed a MoU with a Geneva–based NGO to help it diagnose and treat hepatitis C. The state provides hepatitis C treatment at 22 district hospitals along with three government medical colleges at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot. The Punjab government had started the Mukh Mantri Punjab Hepatitis C Relief Fund on June 6, 2016, to eradicate the infectious disease.