Unsafe drinking water infects 70% Kashmiris with H pylori

Unsafe drinking water infects 70% Kashmiris with H pyloriThe consumption of contaminated drinking water has infected 70% of Kashmir population by Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) virus, which is considered as the main cause of gastric cancers.
Doctors say the drinking water testing facilities of Kashmir lack equipment to detect the presence of H.pylori. “Government water-testing facilities rely on coliform bacteria, a bacterial indicator to evaluate the safety of source waters, but H.pylori has been found in waters where coliform indicators were absent,” said senior epidemiologist Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
He said unsafe water supply was responsible for H.pylori infection. “Around 70% of the population in Kashmir is infected with H.pylori that causes most of the gastro duodenal diseases,” he said.
Ascribing H.pylori infection to high prevalence of gastric cancer in Kashmir, Dr Hassan attributed the prevalence of infection to consumption of highly contaminated drinking water.
“Gastric cancer accounts for more than 60% of all cancers in Kashmir and most of the epidemiologists believe that H.pylori is possibly the only cause of stomach cancer in areas with high incidence of the infection,” Dr Hassan said.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer sponsored by World Health Organization has categorised H.pylori as class 1 carcinogen and a definite cause of human gastric cancer.
The Rural Development Ministry in a survey revealed that 60% of villages and over 40% of schools in Kashmir rely on unsafe drinking water, he said.

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