INTERNATIONAL NEWS - An outbreak of hepatitis E has struck the western Indian state of Maharashtra killing at least 18 people and leaving over 4,000 sick, officials said Wednesday.
City authorities suspect the outbreak in the Ichalkaranji city was caused by contaminated water from the city's main Panchganga river. The city has a population of 300,000 and is situated 300 kilometres south of Mumbai.
"Fifteen people were killed in Ichalkaranji while three more were killed in its surrounding areas in the outbreak over the past month," the city's chief health official Sunil Sangewar said. Most deaths occurred in the past fortnight.
"The main reason for the outbreak is leaks from sewage pipes and industrial effluents mixing with the Panchganga, making it highly polluted," he said, adding authorities had taken measures to stop the contamination.
While several hundred patients taken ill with hepatitis have been treated, around 300 patients were under medical care in the city, he said.
Schools, colleges and restaurants in the city have been shut down for eight days in an effort to control the spread of the disease.
Source : Sapa