Expert fears chances of mixed infections

Indian Public Health Association (IPHA) expressed its apprehensions over dengue-related deaths in Madurai district. Stating that the outbreak of dengue in Madurai calls for national attention, it said that the deaths may be due to “multiple-mixed infections” and not just dengue fever alone. “Everybody is talking about dengue virus only, but we feel that some other form of virus is in circulation and it needs comprehensive investigation. There are chances of mixed infections at a time involving dengue, typhoid and malaria,” S. Elango, State president of IPHA and former Director of Public Health, has said.

Talking to The Hindu on Saturday, he appealed to the State government and district administration to look into reasons for fever mortality since several children were dying in Madurai district, Melur area being vulnerable to more casualties.

“I will raise the dengue issue at the national-level conference on emerging infectious diseases in New Delhi on October 30,” he said. Dr. Elango said that only about 10 per cent of fever cases were dengue-positive while the remaining being “discarded” by health authorities. “All fever cases must be investigated to rule out other viral infections. By focusing only on dengue fever, there are chances that we miss out the other actual reasons for fever outbreak in Madurai district,” he cautioned.

According to him, the Central and State Governments can seek the expertise of Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, U.S., and the National Institute of Virology, Pune, to undertake a comprehensive investigation into why fever cases could not be contained despite an intensive mosquito control drive.

The issue will be taken up at the conference in New Delhi which is being hosted by the Indian Society of Communicable Diseases and the International Association of Epidemiologists. A team from the IPHA had already visited dengue-hit Madurai, Theni and Virudhunagar districts on October 14 and 15 to assess the situation.

Dr. Elango urged the Collector to constitute a committee of senior professors from medical college, physicians, epidemiologists, and virology experts to probe into the fever outbreak and come out with solutions