Health officials told to step up surveillance, even as BBMP is in denial mode
Bangalore has been in the grip of dengue over the last two months. Although doctors are seeing an increase in the number of positive cases, health officials from the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) continued to be in denial mode.
Positive cases in the city have increased from 373 on July 27 to 599 on October 5. Although health officials confirmed at a high-level meeting convened by the Health and Family Welfare Minister Aravind Limbavalli on Friday that eight of the 21 dengue deaths are from Bangalore, BBMP officials said only four dengue deaths had been reported since January.
This is apart from several deaths reported by private hospitals.
However, doctors, including those from government hospitals, rubbish the official statistics. “We are seeing an increased number of cases in the past few weeks and the disease is spreading fast,” said K.R. Ravindra, associate professor of medicine, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.
While Dr. Ravindra said more than five confirmed cases of dengue are admitted at the hospital every day, S. Rajanna, resident medical officer of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, pointed out that nearly 40 cases of dengue-like fever had been reported at the hospital in the last one month.
Another doctor from a private hospital in Seshadripuram revealed that nearly half the fever cases seen in the hospital every week turned out to be cases of dengue. “As the symptoms are similar to that of viral fever, it is important to identify the symptoms and start immediate treatment,” he said.
The disease-causing mosquitoes breed in fresh water and bite during daytime.
Symptoms include intermittent fever and headache, pain in the joints, rashes over the body and pain behind the eyeball, the doctors added.
Attributing the rising incidence to the fluctuating weather conditions and intermittent rains, State Health Secretary M. Madan Gopal told The Hindu the BBMP and district health officials had been directed to step up surveillance and awareness measures.
“There is a need to take extra care in the next month because the weather is conducive for the dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquito to thrive. However, the situation is not alarming and there is no need to panic,” he said.
Reiterating the BBMP health authorities’ statement that only those cases that test positive at the sentinel laboratories through the Mac-Elisa method could be considered as positive, Mr. Gopal said officials had been directed to start a special drive to detect and check the spread of dengue.
However, the common grouse of both patients and doctors is that the Mac-Elisa test is expensive and time-consuming.
Continuing to deny the spread of the disease, Lokesh, BBMP nodal officer for vector control, said adequate preventive measures were being taken for source reduction in vulnerable areas.