Informing that the impact of dengue outbreak in the southern districts had been contained up to 60 per cent, Minister for Health V.S. Vijay has said sustained efforts would be made across the State with the backing of the local bodies to make Tamil Nadu ‘mosquito-free'.

“Our ultimate goal is to completely control the spreading of vector-borne diseases through these sustained measures to be taken-up throughout the year,” Dr. Vijay told reporters here on Monday after chairing the review meeting that discussed the progress made so far in the battle against dengue outbreak in the southern districts of Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Virudhunagar.

Dr. Vijay said intensive steps had been taken by combining all government departments to contain the outbreak following the special instructions given by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Consequently, the impact of the outbreak had been contained up to 60 per cent while the mortality rate due to dengue had come down to 50 per cent in the dengue-hit districts.

While the Tirunelveli and the Sankarankovil health districts had lost 17 and 12 lives respectively to dengue, the entire State of Tamil Nadu saw the loss of 36 lives to the epidemic. Hence, intense anti-dengue operations had been launched across Tamil Nadu, especially in the southern districts, to minimize the impact.

“This is mainly due to the intensified anti-dengue operations conducted by all associated departments and the awareness programmes and rallies conducted in the affected areas,” said the minister, who profusely thanked the media for creating an awareness among the public on dengue.

He said that the anti-dengue operations initiated by various arms of the government would continue with the same vigour since southwest monsoon was about to start in the State.

When it was brought to the minister's notice that a dengue patient, named 17-year-old Kalaiselvi, had been “forcibly discharged” from the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital after her parents were told to take her to Christian Medical College, Vellore, the minister immediately ordered the patient's readmission to the TVMCH itself. “Since we've created excellent diagnosis and treatment facilities at TVMCH, there is no need for taking the patient to Vellore”.

He said that private hospitals had been warned against sending the dengue patients to the government hospitals in the final stage. “All private hospitals have been instructed to send immediately the dengue patients to the government hospitals where we've got very good facilities for diagnosis and treatment. Since some of the private hospitals sent the dengue patients who already had shock syndrome to the government hospitals, we could not save them. Private hospitals which have violated these instructions have been warned severely,” he said.

Principal Secretary, Department of Health, Girija Vaidyanathan, Project Director, TANSACS, A.C. Mohandoss, District Collector R. Selvaraj, Minister for Khadi and Village Industries P. Senthurpandian, chairman of Tamil Nadu Housing Board R. Murugaiah Pandian, Tirunelveli Corporation Mayor Vijila Sathyananth and Tirunelveli MLA Nainar Nagenthran were among those who participated in today's review meeting.

Later, the minister participated in a dengue awareness rally.