Consumption of water contaminated with faecal coliform is the major reason behind outbreak of jaundice that has so far claimed 10 lives in Biratnagar, according to experts.
Laboratory tests of samples sent from the jaundice affected area show that more than 90 percent of the patients are suffering from hepatitis E, a liver infection caused by a virus. The test reports suggested the waterborne infection was caused by consumption of contaminated water.
A team of experts from Kathmandu , which inspected the affected area this week, said the city lacked a proper drainage system and sewerage could easily seep into the drinking water mains which need an immediate overhaul. Over 1,200 people have been affected since the outbreak was reported three weeks ago.
Four out of 10 water samples from the jaundice-affected areas in Biratnagar contained a high level of faecal E.coli, tests conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory showed, indicating that the outbreak might be due to consumption of contaminated water. Water containing more than 10 bacteria in 100 millilitre is unsafe for drinking.
Jaundice is a condition where the skins and eyes turns yellowish. While there are many causes of jaundice including pancreatic cancer, the jaundice outbreak in Biratnagar is a viral infection of liver mainly due to hepatitis E virus. Hepatitis E virus is transmitted through contaminated water. According to World Health Organisation, hepatitis E is usually a self-limiting infection and resolves within 4-6 weeks. Occasionally, a severe form of hepatitis develops acute liver failure which can lead to death.
Dr Dilip Sharma, a liver specialist, said proper hygiene and consumption of boiled food can help prevent the hepatitis E.
Meanwhile, Chief District Officer of Morang Ganesh Raj Karki on Sunday instructed hotels and lodges in Biratnagar to manage their waste properly after a government inspection team found a many of them lacked a proper sewerage system.
(With inputs from Abdhesh Kumar Jha in Biratnagar)
Toll reaches 10; schools to close
One more person died of jaundice in Biratnagar on Sunday, taking the toll to 10 from the outbreak over three weeks.
Tek Bahadur Katuwal, 25, of Biratnagar-11, died at a hospital in Siliguri, India, after being referred from Nobel Hospital, Biratnagar, according to Nawaraj Subba, chief of the District Public
Meanwhile, the Private and Boarding School’s Organisation, Nepal (Pabson) and National Private and Boarding School’s Organisation, Nepal have decided to close all institutionalised schools in the city for five days from Monday. There are around 300 private schools in the city.