Emergency response team formed to carry out tests for suspected dengue cases

The Centre for Research in Medical Entomology (CRME) here has alerted public health authorities in the State that mosquito management holds the key to prevention and control of dengue fever.

An emergency response team has been formed in the CRME, engaging entomologists and virologists to assist the Directorate of Public Health in carrying out laboratory tests for suspected dengue cases and find out which serotype of the dengue virus is in circulation. “We have volunteered to collaborate with the State government in fighting dengue fever which is on the rise this year. Once we hear from the Directorate of Medical Education on what sort of support they want, we shall start the work,” B. K. Tyagi, Director, CRME, told The Hindu on Thursday.

The CRME experts, in their dossier to State health officials, have pointed out that the increase in number of building construction sites and the intermittent rains causing water stagnation were among the prime reasons for spurt in dengue cases.

They are also in touch with health officials in Madurai district and with the Corporation’s health wing by giving inputs on how to deal with the situation.

“Senior officials in the Directorate of Medical Education have asked me if we could find out which serotype of dengue virus is widely prevalent and I told them that the CRME will be pleased to play a key role in doing investigations,” Dr. Tyagi said.

As and when the CRME gets nod from the State Health Department, the emergency response team consisting of seven members would begin the entomological and virological tests of blood samples of suspected cases of dengue fever.

“Our laboratory is equipped to do serotype tests and at a time we can take up 100 samples. There are four serotypes of dengue viruses and we can find out which serotype is in circulation now. By identifying that, we can proceed with further control measures effectively,” Dr. Tyagi said.

“Man-mosquito contact is going up due to more breeding sources. Since the mosquito biting rate is increasing, naturally it leads to more prevalence of dengue fever. Dengue is directly related to mosquito biting rate,” Dr. Tyagi said.

He said that preventing water stagnation in and around the houses is vital.

While the CRME has prepared an action plan for ending mosquito menace in Madurai, it is looking up to the Corporation authorities to implement the scientific route map for control of vector borne diseases.

A week for improvement

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Health Services S. Senthilkumar said on Thursday that the public health team was focusing on ‘dengue-vulnerable’ areas in the district and it would take some more time for the fever to subside.

“Dengue fever cases are being reported everyday but it will take a week for the situation to improve. Our department is carrying out control measures such as anti-larval/fogging in every block and the priority areas are Melur and Kottampatti in view of more fever cases coming in from there,” he said.

He sought the support of local bodies in solid waste management, prevention of water stagnation, and adequate water chlorination.

More In: Madurai