13 persons admitted to CDH with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea; 47 others being treated

A total of 13 persons were admitted to Communicable Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Tondiarpet on Sunday with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

According to a Chennai Corporation official, the patients are residents of north Chennai.

What began as a health and sanitation issue in and around Chetpet, creating a cholera scare last week, has now spread to other parts of the city.

A total of 39 persons are undergoing treatment at CDH and eight at Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital (KMC). Twenty-one patients were discharged from CDH on Sunday, after treatment. The Chennai Corporation has asked KMC to not admit cases because CDH is better equipped to deal with diarrhoea cases.

“There is no need to panic when one has such symptoms. Residents should seek immediate medical care. The cases are scattered and unlike what was witnessed the first time around (in Chetpet area). It is normal to get 10-15 cases a day during this season,” said an official in the civic body.

The cholera scare also brought to light Chennai Corporation’s inadequate attention to newly-added zones, with residents complaining that not enough was being done to control flies and chlorinate wells that are sources of drinking water in many areas. Residents of areas in Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Ullagaram, Madipakkam and Thoraipakkam answered in the negative when asked if chlorine tablets were distributed in their localities by the corporation.

V. Mohandas of Srinivasa Nagar in Madipakkam said, earlier when they were under the municipality, some kind of oil was poured in wells on a regular basis. However, in the last nine months, the corporation has not taken any such steps.

Anusha Kannan, resident of Prabhu Nagar in Thoraipakkam, said that due to water stagnation and dumping of garbage on open plots, the fly and mosquito menace was on the increase.

However, experts rubbished the Corporation’s claims that there were no cholera cases in the city.

“We have to accept the fact that cholera bacteria is there in the universe. Diarrhoea and vomiting are symptoms of the disease. There may be an underlying cause or agent which causes the symptoms. They should tell us if it is bacterial, viral or chemical,” said a doctor.

Dr. S. Elango, former director of Public Health and State president of Indian Public Health Association said that if one laboratory says that the samples have not tested positive, they should be sent to other laboratories for a second opinion.

“If the real incidence is not known, fund allocation might be inadequate to tackle the problem,” he said.

“In the 1950s, there were 15,000 deaths due to cholera in the State. However, that has now been brought down to single digits. The issue is lack of proper sanitation. For this, the initiative must come from residents themselves,” Dr. Elango said.

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