Nurpur, November 15
Kangra is one of the three districts in the country where rotavirus vaccination is being introduced in the public health system as a pilot project by the Union Health Ministry this month.
The vaccine, Rotavac, is being launched first time in the country to eradicate diarrhoea, especially in infants. As per official information, this vaccine is being introduced in Vellore, Pune and Kangra districts. The vaccine is considered safe and effective and provides 56 per cent protection against severe diarrhoea and hospitalsation due to rotavirus.
The state Health Department has started rotavirus vaccine training to health providers in Kangra district.
Dr BM Gupta, Chief Medical Officer, Kangra, said this wheel-shaped virus was transmitted through oral route and causes gastroenteritis, which was often called as ‘stomach flu’ despite having no relation to influenza. “The five drops of this oral vaccine is given at 6, 10 and 14 weeks in three divided doses along with regular doses and regular training sessions are being conducted in all 13 blocks of the district in November so that health providers can be acquainted with the new concept of vaccine,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr S Nikhil Gupta, district progamme officer of rotavirus vaccine, while addressing health providers in the training session at the Fatehpur health block in the Jawali sub-division today, said in India 1,30,000 children under 5 years died due to the highly contagious diarrhoea in 2013 and roughly 1/4th of all global diarrhoea deaths in children occurred in India.
He said the three main symptoms of rotavirus infection were fever, vomiting besides watery diarrhoea and abdominal pain. “Only lab test of stool can confirm diagnosis of rotavirus infection. If not treated properly, it can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalisation or even death. Important complications are malnutrition and delay in physical and cognitive development,” he said.
Dr Gupta said as preventive measure, infants could be provided exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, adding merely improvements in hygiene, sanitation condition and drinking water quality could not effectively prevent rotavirus transmission.
“The WHO recommends only rotavirus vaccine as a preventive option to check this disease which is being introduced into our country’s national immunisation programme. As many as 77 countries are using rotavirus vaccine that checks prevention of rotavirus diarrhoea. The WHO recommends that the first dose of either vaccine be administered as soon as possible after 6 weeks of age, along with other vaccination,” he said.
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