Jaundice outbreak spreads to district prison

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 13, 2014-

The deadly outbreak of jaundice in Biratnagar, which has already claimed 10 lives, has now spread in the Morang District Prison located in the town.

“Sixteen prisoners have tested positive for the disease and are receiving treatment at various hospitals in the district,” said jailor Durgadatta Poudel, adding that four of them, who are undergoing treatment at the Koshi Zonal Hospital and Nobel Hospital, are in serious condition.

Poudel said they had feared the worst as 400 inmates had underwent medical check-ups after being suspected of suffering from jaundice. The prison located at Biratnagar Sub-Metropolitan City-11 houses 700 prisoners.

Ward no 2, 10, 11 and 13 of Biratnagar sub-metropolis have been badly affected by the jaundice outbreak affecting scores of people, health workers said, adding that the hospitals in the town have been flooded by patients and the disease has spread in other areas in the city too. Nawaraj Subba, chief of the District Public Health Office, said that 55 new jaundice patients received treatment in Biratnagar-based health facilities on Tuesday alone.

“The number of jaundice patients is increasing every day,” he said, adding that 1,414 jaundice patients received treatment in various health facilities across the city as of Tuesday evening. He, however, said that the number of jaundice patients could be much higher as the district authorities do not have any record of patients receiving treatment in health facilities outside the city.

The majority of jaundice patients are aged between 15 and 40, Subba said.  

Meanwhile Urban Development Minister Narayan Khadka, who arrived here with a jumbo team of government officials on inspection visit, was greeted by angry protests on Tuesday.

Locals vented anger over government’s apathy towards the epidemic, chanting slogans against the minister outside the District Administration Hall where he was holding consultations with stakeholders about the outbreak and the situation in jaundice hit areas of the town.

The locals demanded that supply of contaminated drinking water be immediately halted to prevent further spread of the disease.

As the situation got tense, security personnel had to use force to disperse the agitated crowd to clear the way for the minister’s entourage. In the process, Minister Khadka tried to win over the angry demonstrators by saying that pure drinking water would be supplied freely through water tankers in the most affected parts of the town for some days.

He went on to assure that the government would provide proper compensation if it is proven that the outbreak and the subsequent deaths were solely caused

by contaminated drinking water.

 

Published: 14-05-2014 08:36

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