GILGIT: Hospitals in Gilgit have been receiving a large number of appendicitis patients over the past month, giving rise to fear of an outbreak of an ailment which is otherwise neither infectious nor contagious.
Around 500 people have been operated upon for appendicitis in the past last month in an area adjacent to Gilgit city.
The outbreak has been reported from Chamogarh, a village located about 40 kilometres south-east of Gilgit. The village has a population of around 4,000 people and lacks proper sanitation and other basic facilities.
“I do not know why, but I felt severe abdominal pain last week… after a check-up in a Gilgit hospital, doctors decided to operate and now I am recovering,” said a patient on Monday who had been admitted to the City hospital for surgery.
He was flanked by six to seven other patients who had also been admitted to the hospital with the same complaint. Interestingly, all of these patients were from the Chamogarh village.
An official at the City Hospital said that he had reported the sudden surge in appendicitis complaints to senior health officials of the area, but had received no response so far.
According to officials, as many as 265 patients have so far been operated for appendicitis at the hospital in March.
A further 200 were operated upon at the District Headquarters Hospital in Gilgit for the same affliction.
Doctors have carried out several appendicitis-related surgeries at the Ali Medical Centre, Combined Military Hospital and at the Aga Khan Health Service Hospital in Gilgit.
“You cannot count the number of patients coming in…they are many,” Government City Hospital Consultant Surgeon Dr Muhammad Iqbal told Press.
“There are other surgeries [being performed] too but the appendicitis patients clearly outnumber all others,” said Dr Iqbal who performed most of the surgeries despite a lack of facilities in the hospital.
He speculated the disease occurrence was related to diet since it is usually caused by a blockage in the appendix, often by stool. The blockage may also occur due to an infection since the appendix swells in response to any infection in the body.
Dr Masroor, a surgeon at the Ali Medical Centre said samples had been sent to Islamabad for examination to determine the cause of the outbreak.
Sabbir mir for Express Tribune, April 4th, 2017.