The Health Department has decided to intensify fever surveillance and disease prevention and control activities in panchayats on the Thiruvananthapuram-Tamil Nadu border as several cases of dengue fever with severe complications are being reported from the neighbouring districts in Tamil Nadu.

Health officials said the State wing of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) had requested the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) to check for dengue sero type and study the viral characteristics in blood samples collected from suspected dengue cases being reported from hospitals in the panchayats bordering Tamil Nadu in the south of the district.

SAT reports

The IDSP wing has taken serious note of the reports from SAT Hospital about the presentation of dengue fever with a different clinical picture in children, especially in cases reported from the Karakonam and Parassala areas. However, doctors at the SAT Hospital also said that dengue complications involving hepatic failure had not been reported by the General Medicine Department in the Government Medical College here so far.

Doubts over treatment

The officials said that apart from suspicions regarding the virulent nature of the dengue virus or the circulation of a different sero type of the virus, one factor to be accounted for was whether wrong treatment was complicating the dengue cases being reported from the border areas. It is well known that several quacks practise medicine on the sly in the border panchayats, the officials said.

The IDSP’s trained team of technicians would be engaged to collect blood samples from the border panchayats. These would then be sent to the RGCB. Nearly 500 samples would be collected from patients reporting at the outpatient clinics of primary health centres/hospitals on the first to third day of fever, they said.

Samples of patients who may already have undergone some treatment would not be collected.

The areas identified for sample collection include Parassala, Vellarada, Kunnathukal, Pozhiyoor, Pulluvila, Poovar, Kallikkad, and Amboori.

Blood samples would be collected from five hospitals in the Kesavapuram and Kilimanoor belt in the north of the district as a ‘control’ group for the study, the officials said.

Case history collection

As part of the study, detailed case history collection would be done.

Field workers in the border panchayats have also been put on alert to monitor all fever cases and to launch source reduction and anti-larval measures.

‘Dry day’ will be observed on Sunday as part of the disease-control drive across the State.