Physician B. S. Kakkilaya alleged that officials were trying to "hush up" the malaria deaths and downplaying the number of malaria cases in Mangalore district.

A city-based physician, who has worked for decades treating malaria, has said the death of two minors from Shishila and Belthangady, last week due to malaria could have been averted. He alleged that officials were trying to “hush up” the malaria deaths and downplaying the number of malaria cases in the district.

Referring to the terming, by a team of two doctors from Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Bangalore, the deaths of the two minors a ‘freak incident’, physician B. S. Kakkilaya said the team’s claim that the minors succumbed to malaria as they had low resistance due to anaemia was absurd. Malaria was an infection and anaemia would not lead to malaria, he said. He said, “What do they mean by ‘freak’ incident?....Do you mean to say that everyone with anaemia will get malaria?”

In a press statement hosted on his website for malaria (http://www.malariasite.com), he said “anaemia in the two children was the result of severe malaria, rather than being the cause of malaria. Therefore, such a statement is not only false but also a blatant attempt to divert the attention from the lapses of the health authorities”.

He alleged that officials in the district were not recording the correct number of deaths due to malaria in the district.

Meanwhile, responding to it the district health officer denied that the number of malaria deaths issued by the government was lower than the actual number. H. S. Shivakumar, District health Officer (DHO), said the government got daily reports from private and government hospitals, which were analysed and sent to the State level.

When asked about the numbers going unreported, he said, “That’s his (Dr. Kakkilaya’s) imagination” and that he would discuss the issue with him.

Dr. Shivakumar said that it was not correct that anaemia could lead to malaria but malaria could lead to anaemia. He said the death of the two minors was “unfortunate” especially as the area they lived in was not a malaria-endemic area.

The Hindu called Bangalore doctors at several different points of time but did not get a response.

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