Outbreak of epidemic likely, says Azad

Outbreak of epidemic likely, says Azad

Though mass cremation was held in Kedarnath on Thursday, the threat of a large-scale disease outbreak still looms large in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.

“We don’t know the situation completely as several parts of the state are out of bounds. Anything can happen. We are closely monitoring the situation,” union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said here.

While diarrhoea cases in Haridwar (Alwalpur), Uttarkashi (Udvi) and Rudraprayag (Chandrapuri) were managed at an initial stage, top health ministry officials are now camping in Dehradun so that prompt action can be taken.

Azad said if the state needs more doctors and technicians, central government would provide them. A pool of 40 doctors has been created for this task. The central government has so far sent three truckloads of medicines and other clinical material and kept six central team of doctors in Dehradun.

Two public health teams are at Gouchar and Joshimath. A third team is held up in Rudraprayag due to road blockage.

“While no outbreak of any disease has been reported so far, I cannot say that will not happen in future,” Azad said.

Meanwhile, union cabinet on Thursday approved two proposals worth Rs 1,100 crore to set up a network of laboratories across the country for early detection of disease outbreak and epidemics.

The first is a Rs 626 crore project to establish a network of research laboratories for early detection of diseases, whereas the second one is a Rs 503 crore proposal for establishing research laboratories in government medical colleges.