February 18, 2009

Hepatitis blamed for 19 deaths in India

An investigation is underway in the Indian state of Gujarat, where 19 people have died during recent weeks in a suspected hepatitis outbreak, authorities say.

Malayappan Thennarasan, the Sabarkantha district's top administrative official, said Wednesday the deaths blamed on hepatitis have all occurred in less than two weeks and another 70 people are feared to have been infected with the same virus strain, CNN said.

Thennarasan said 17 of those individuals thought to be infected with the hepatitis strain have been hospitalized.

It appears to be a mutant form (of hepatitis), he said of the reported cases in the Indian state.

The administrative official told CNN it remains unclear what brought about the deadly infection in Gujarat.