The Manipal Center for Virus Research found that the Ooramana village of the Ernakulam district in Kerala, India, experienced 348 cases of hepatitis B this year.
The village has the highest number of hepatitis B cases in all of India this year. MCVR carried out the study after Ernakulam’s district medical officer requested that the center identify the sources and mode of transmission of hepatitis B on October 3, the Times of India reports.
The research team submitted its report on Saturday after conducting a detailed study in the village from October 22 to October 30 and from November 12 to November 19.
G. Arum Kumar, the head of MCVR, said that out of 2,017 people surveyed, 348 people have the hepatitis B virus, accounting for 17 percent of the cases reported this year in India.
Approximately seven percent of the population in India lives with the hepatitis B virus, according to the World Health Organization.
Kumar said the team found high-level horizontal transmission of the virus from patients to people outside of the family.
“Usually the virus transmits vertically – from a patient to one of the family members living in the same house,” Kumar said, according to the Times of India. “Apart from infected syringes, the other main source of the virus include four barbershops situated in and around the village.”
The study was supported by India’s federal government, the ministry of health and family welfare, the department of health research and the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Times of India reports.