‘Blood Banks Behind Hepatitis-C Epidemic in Valley’

Quackery, unhygienic clinics compounding epidemic: DAK

SRINAGAR: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has said the Blood Banks were responsible for the colossal Hepatitis C epidemic in the Kashmir valley. 

“Blood Banks screen donated blood for hepatitis C by enzyme immunoassay which can give false negative results therefore donated blood is a huge source of Hepatitis C virus transmission. In developed countries Blood Banks have switched from serological tests to qualitative HCV RNA nucleic acid test (NAT) for screening donated blood. The introduction of NAT technology in developed countries for screening blood bank pool has prevented transfusion related Hepatitis C infection” DAK president Dr Nisar-ul- Hassan said in a statement here today.

“The spread of this iatrogenic human tragedy in valley is compounded by poor health practices by quacks. The burden of Hepatitis C has alarmingly increased by unhygienic chemist shops, dental clinics, diagnostic centers and nursing homes”, he said.

Hassan said, these facts were established once there was an epidemic in south Kashmir, but ‘unfortunately government did not take any action against these unhygienic clinics and in fact allowed them to operate’.

“ Those who were positive for chronic hepatitis c in south Kashmir were not given treatment by government as was promised with the result they continue to be source of secondary transmission. The callousness and insensitiveness on part of government has put whole population at risk”, he said.

Hepatitis C is a silent killer as it rarely presents with symptoms until it leads to dreaded complications of cirrhosis and liver cancer. There is neither any effective vaccine nor post exposure prophylaxis available against hepatitis C virus so efforts should be placed on preventing hepatitis-C infection. 

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