Most fatalities are children below 10 years, hundreds admitted to hospitals

At least 17 people died and several hundred were admitted to rural hospitals as malaria gripped tribal hamlets in remote Dhalai district in Tripura.

Health Minister Badal Choudhury, who chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the health situation, will visit the affected areas on Friday.

Mr. Choudhury said he had information of 17 deaths in two subdivisions of Dhalai over the past few days. “Ten died in Gandacherra and 7 in Longtarai Valley, while many were admitted to hospitals,” he told newsmen.

Officials said most of the fatalities are children below ten years.

“Nearly, 200 people are crowded in Ganddachara hospital and we are arranging additional space to accommodate new patients,” Gandacherra subdivisional magistrate Bhaskar Dasgupta told The Hindu over phone.

He said timely detection of the distressed hamlets saved many people from imminent death. The deaths in his subdivision mainly occurred in four villages.

Malaria infected tribals of other places are admitted in Longtarai Valley, Manikpur, Chawmanu and Salema health centres.

Two medical teams are visiting malaria prone villages and two more teams would accompany health minister to the area tomorrow.

Local sources said several deaths occurred in Girachandra Para and Joyram Para in Gandacherra.

A medical team was slated to visit the hamlets last month, but did not for some unknown reason.

The State government directed district magistrate and SDMs, medical officers and police officials in Dhalai to remain alert and take all out measures to cope with the critical health situation. Leave of doctors and medical staff in the district have been cancelled.

Sources said Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, worried over the outbreak, held a meeting with Health Minister Badal Choudhury on Thursday evening. Prior to this, the Health Minister chaired an emergency meeting with top officials.