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Use of Telemedicine in Evading Cholera Outbreak in Mahakumbh Mela, Prayag, UP, India: An Encouraging Experience

Title:Use of Telemedicine in Evading Cholera Outbreak in Mahakumbh Mela, Prayag, UP, India: An Encouraging Experience
Author:Ayyagari A., Bhargava A., et al.
Publication:Telemedicine Journal and e-Health / Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Enumeration:vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 89-94, March 2003
Abstract:Telemedicine (TM) services a process in which expert medical advice from afar is provided using electronic signals to transfer the medical data from one site to another. As a pilot project to assess the efficacy of TM in developing countries like India, a telemedicine center was set up at the main hospital of Mahakumbh mela - a grand religious fair, at Prayag, a city in north India. The daily reporting of the in-patient and outpatient cases at the fair revealed a surge of diarrhea cases among the pilgrims at the fair. This information was communicated to the referral center at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), which, with the help of its microbiology department, conducted microbiological examinations of stool samples and rectal swabs of patients along with various water samples. Vibrio cholerae was isolated in 22.6% (7/31) of the samples. This information was immediately relayed to the Main Hospital at the fair online, and then to the health authorities, who took strict and prompt measures to improve hygiene. Subsequently, the number of diarrhea cases decreased considerably in a matter of a few days, and thus an epidemic disaster was averted, which could have created havoc in such a large gathering.

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