25 hostellers have been affected in the past two months

As many as 25 hostellers of Backward Classes and Minorities Hostel for women in Urwa-Chilimbi contracted malaria in last two months.

This was confirmed by officials from the District Malaria Control Office, Mangalore City Corporation and District Surveillance Office.

S.B. Arun Kumar, District Malaria Control Officer, said 26 blood smears were taken from the hostel of which seven tested malaria positive in the last one month. Hostel warden Mahalaxmi Bolar claimed on Thursday that seven to eight women contracted a severe form of malaria caused by Plasmodium falsiparum and the rest a milder form caused by Plasmodium vivax based on tests done in private hospitals in Chilimbi and Bunts Hostel.

C.M. Sudarshan, City Corporation Health Officer, however, said only four cases of malaria (all milder form) were reported but the warden said there were more cases.

However, the health officer is yet to see the test reports as the students had gone home with the results.

Admitting the cases were “significant”, Dr. Suharshan said it was possible that 25 girls contracted malaria. “I am not denying that.

It could be more than that… The number does not count much. An outbreak is when malaria cases happen in an area where there is no malaria before or when there are an increasing number of malaria cases.”

The hostel warden said a majority of the hostellers returned from home, three to four were at home now and two girls at the hostel were down with malaria. Ramya, a student of University College from Chikmagalur, was lying ill in her room Thursday evening.

Mosquito nets

Dr. Kumar said the students must use mosquito nets with chemical coating. He offered to get nets chemically treated.

Dr. Sudarshan said, “We have given mosquito nets but they are not using.”

However, the warden has refuted it.

“The government has not supplied nets after 2008,” Ms. Bolar said.

About the students going to private laboratories for blood tests, Dr. Arun Kumar said, “I don’t know why they do that. We use the slide method recommended by the National Malaria Control Programme. It is the gold standard”.

Further, he said tests reports were given within two to three hours at Government Wenlock Hospital. For the hostellers, samples were taken at the doorsteps and they could be treated at the hostel.

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