Jaundice outbreak

Shimla, Solan under Hepatitis-E threat, all water samples fail test

SHIMLA: The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has again sent alarm bells ringing in Shimla and Solan.

Shimla, Solan under Hepatitis-E threat, all water samples fail test

The contaminated Ashwani Khud near Shimla. File photo

editorial@tribune.com

Kuldeep Chauhan

TribuneNewsService

Shimla, February 11

The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has again sent alarm bells ringing in Shimla and Solan. Eight water samples taken from Ashwani Khud water treatment plants in both cities and the Malyana sewage treatment plant have tested positive for Hepatitis-E.

The NIV found that two water samples taken from a water tank from a house of the jaundice-affected family in Chhota Shimla had also tested positive for Hepatitis-E virus. The NIV report was sent to the state Health Department today.

The result of water samples paints an alarming picture of the Ashwani Khud. It found that the Hepatitis-E virus infected Ashwani Khud drinking water even after chlorination carried out by the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department, revealed the report.

The Director, NIV, in his report on February 10, stated that eight water samples had tested positive for the Hepatitis-E viral RNA. This meant that the water had been contaminated with hepatitis-E virus.

The report found that raw water from the tapping point of the Ashwani Khud in Shimla and Solan had tested positive for the virus. Both water sources are located downstream of the sewage treatment plants of Malyana, Dhalli and Baragaon.

What was more alarming was that the raw water samples from an IPH tank, Solan, after treatment had tested positive for the Hepatitis-E virus. The jaundice outbreak in Solan could show an upswing if the immediate measures were not put in place, warned virologists.

In Shimla, the NIV report sounded immediate concern from departments of health and IPH and the Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC). Similarly, faecal effluent (before chlorination) had tested positive for the Hepatitis-E virus. The same was the case with the water sample of faecal effluent after chlorination, the NIV reports said. The water samples of water unused for three months had also tested positive for the Hepatitis-E virus. Similarly, the water samples of water unused for three months had also tested positive for the Hepatitis-E virus.

A four-member NIV team visited Shimla and Solan on January 28 for four days, took blood samples of patients and eight water samples – two samples from both inlet and outlet of the Ashwani Khud water pumping stations that supply water to Shimla and Solan, two from the Malyana sewage treatment plant and two from private water tanks from Chhota Shimla.

Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar says that the test report reveals the high contamination of water in the outlet of the treatment plants, Malyana and the Ashwini Khad. This shows the virus would hit a water scheme 30 km downstream.

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