The Health Department has decided to intensify preventive and control measures against all vector-borne infectious diseases, especially in border districts, which are vulnerable to the threat of the transmission of viruses through people and transport across the border.
As part of the Four Plus strategy launched recently by the department to move in early to tackle infectious diseases, an inter-district meeting between the senior health officials of Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari district has been called on March 30 to share information on the health scenario in the bordering areas in both districts.
The infectious diseases situation in the border area came into focus following the reports of a large number of viral fever cases in the district of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.
With many people there showing symptoms of chikungunya and not yet testing positive for the CHK virus, there had been fears that this could be the ‘Ross River Fever', somehow imported from Australia.
The district health administration had decided to set up health check-posts along the Parassala border and to initiate fogging of all buses coming into the State from Tamil Nadu.
The medical officers in the border areas - especially the three blocks along the border, Vellarada, Poovar and Vithura - had been alerted to look for any unusual spurt in fever cases and to mobilise health workers to commence source reduction and related activities in the field to reduce mosquito density.
Following a visit by a team from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, to the affected areas in Tamil Nadu - Tirunelveli and Virudhu Nagar - it has now been confirmed that the ‘mysterious fever' was indeed chikungunya, with a smattering of dengue cases also.
“Our officials have been concentrating on border areas as more dengue cases are being reported from the coastal belt, Neyyattinkara, Parassala and Balaramapuram, Vilappil areas. The inter-district meeting has been called to discuss the local health issues, to share information and also to strengthen disease surveillance in the border areas in both States,” a senior official said.
He said there were certain malaria-endemic pockets in Kanyakumari district and because of the frequent travel of fishermen to these areas, imported malaria cases in the coastal belt in Thiruvananthapuram had become a constant source of concern for the Health Department.
“An inter-district meeting to discuss malaria-across-the border has already been convened in Kasaragod. The same will be done in Thiruvananthapuram too,” he added.
Meanwhile, a meeting was convened by the Chief Secretary here on Thursday to discuss the infectious diseases situation and the implementation of the Four Plus strategy within the district.