Mosquito experts sitting on dengue file prepared six months ago

Delay on the part of a few ‘babus’ in clearing a key document, exclusively prepared to contain dengue in Madurai, is turning out to be deadly.

Even as the city is bracing up to meet the challenge of this year’s edition of dengue, the report, which has made recommendations on dengue prevention, is yet to reach the Madurai Corporation as some mosquito experts are sitting over the file despite the gravity of fever situation.

The Centre for Research in Medical Entomology (CRME) here, which is a premier institution of the Indian Council of Medical Research working in the sphere of vector borne diseases, has prepared a ‘master plan for Madurai to control mosquitoes’ over six months ago.

This report was supposed to have been given to the Madurai Corporation well before the onset of dengue season after getting technical clearance from the scientific advisory committee of CRME. However, the master plan is still on paper as a few masters are yet to clear it. Repeated reminders of CRME top brass to the members of scientific advisory committee in the last three months were of no avail.

“We have already sent e-mails and reminded the committee members once again in writing not to delay the report. This master plan will be helpful to Madurai Corporation in mitigating dengue dangers. As per procedure, we have to get official clearance from advisory committee before it is kept in public domain,” B.K.Tyagi, Director, CRME, told “The Hindu” on Saturday.

The 125-page master plan for Madurai was prepared by a team of scientists and entomologists suggesting ways to prevent mosquito breeding.

“We have studied mosquito-genic conditions in this city and came out with recommendations to help corporation authorities. I am after the advisory committee members to quickly clear this document in the interest of Madurai people because if it is given in time to the Corporation, it will be helpful in fighting dengue challenge,” said Dr.Tyagi.

While this report is still making rounds in the corridors of ‘babus’, the city is already in a panic mode as suspected and confirmed dengue cases are on the rise. The expose of poor sanitary conditions in Vikasa School at Ponnagaram and how students there are admitted in various hospitals due to fever has sent shockwaves across Madurai.

Paediatrician S.Naavarasu of Vadamalayan Hospitals says that dengue anxiety is on the rise among parents and they are insisting on doing ELISA test for their children.

“Dengue cases are there in the city and it is time people take steps to keep their surroundings clean. Dengue mosquito is a day biter and it breeds in fresh water,” he cautions.

From the overall perspective, the health wing of Madurai Corporation too has intensified its anti-mosquito drive to prevent dengue outbreak expected in October. Ten special teams were formed to carry out ward-wise mosquito control activity and fever surveillance.

V.Yasodha Mani, City Health Officer, says that schools and colleges are the immediate focus for Corporation. Also, ward-wise coverage has been taken up by deploying eight vehicle mounted fogging machines, 40 hand fogging units and 24 thermal fog machines.

“Already, our sanitary team had cleaned up water tanks and sumps in 40 schools. Health education material is being distributed,” she said.

The Corporation has put up fever register to collect data and analyse it area wise. In case of suspected dengue, the medical officers will have to act swiftly. Also, sanitary inspectors are deputed to collect fever data from private hospitals. Consolidated fever data is regularly sent to the Director of Public Health at Chennai.

Private hospitals too are alert on their part in view of lessons learnt last year around same time. For instance, the Apollo Speciality Hospital has a special isolated ward to handle patients with dengue and other infectious diseases.

“This year dengue cases are less, but still we are prepared to meet any situation. We keep patients in isolation ward for treatment,” a hospital employee said.

For people who are panicky, Dr.Naavarasu says that platelet count in blood should not fall and it is advisable to approach a doctor in case of fever.

“Plenty of fluids has to be given to patient. Hydration holds the key and we recommend tender coconuts,” he tells. Severe abdominal pain, continuous vomiting and tiredness are among the symptoms of dengue and this infection can be confirmed only after five days of fever because antibodies will be positive only after five days.

As the battle with mosquitoes is intensified, the city will look forward to the crucial CRME master plan to ward off dengue at right time in a right manner.

More In: Madurai