Police in India has arrested a quack doctor on Wednesday, Feb. 7. He is accused of infecting at least 46 people with human immunodeficiency virus by injecting them with a tainted needle.
Police from India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh tracked down Rajendra Yadav, a fake doctor who apparently gave out free door-to-door medical services to financially challenged villagers, following a criminal case against him for spreading the virus in the Unnao district.
"He was arrested on a tip-off and is being questioned about his role in the case," said police chief Pushpanjali Devi as reported by The Guardian.
The authorities recovered medical equipment and sent them for forensic testing. He allegedly used a single syringe to inject patients in the Unnao district.
Rising Number Of HIV Patients
Suspicions of medical malpractice began when health officials noticed in November an alarming rise in patients testing positive for HIV from the said area. HIV, for the uninitiated, is the virus that could lead to another deadly disease, AIDS.
"We realized that a lot of cases are coming from just one area," said Sushil Choudhary, Unnao district chief medical officer.
The infected patients claim that Yadav treated them and confirmed that he failed repeatedly to change needles when injecting various individuals. Choudhary says it's hard to determine how the HIV spread occurred, although, he speculates that it was indeed the result of an unchanged needle.
On Thursday, Feb. 8, Yadav is scheduled to be charged in court for spreading a highly hazardous disease, attempting to commit culpable homicide, and for fraudulently posing as a legitimate doctor.
Many residents in the city had explicit knowledge about the spread of HIV but didn't know that Yadav could have been behind all of it, reports CNN Wire. One shopkeeper said that he heard about the fake doctor in the news but a friend visited his shop several months ago and told him he had contracted HIV. He didn't know he got the infection.
Healthcare In India
It's a tragic yet ultimately explicable turn of events as India's insufficient healthcare have pushed people to seek low-cost alternatives, which sometimes includes going to unqualified doctors who charge small fees. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there is only a single doctor for every 1,596 people in India.
The Indian government has announced an ambitious plan to provide 500 million people with free healthcare, but details about such plan remain thin.