Patiala, November 23
As many as 240 inmates of the Central Jail here have been found infected with hepatitis C. The infection count is likely to rise as several inmates are yet to be screened by the health officials. Of the total 2,400 inmates, 1,700 have been tested so far.
Samples sent for viral load analysis
Samples of the inmates, who tested positive for the infection, had been sent to a private lab for quantitative viral load analysis. — Divjot Singh, nodal officer
The jail authorities have requested the Health Department to initiate treatment of the infected inmates at the earliest. Hepatitis C is caused by a blood-borne virus, which can affect the liver. It can spread through the use of injectable drugs, unsafe injection practices, unsafe healthcare and transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. There is no vaccine for the infection.
Divjot Singh, nodal officer, said samples of the inmates, who tested positive for the infection, had been sent to a private lab for quantitative viral load analysis. Following this, some baseline tests would be conducted before putting the patients on treatment. “If left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer,” he said.
Around 148 inmates of the New District Jail, Nabha, were found to be infected with hepatitis C last month.