The Director of Public Health has instructed private health institutions in rural areas to appoint a person to report on infectious diseases, as a monsoon-preparedness effort.

All hospitals and other health institutions in the private sector will now have to appoint a person to keep a watch on signs of a breakout of diseases in their area and provide these inputs to the Statewide surveillance system. With private healthcare institutions bearing a significant burden of patient traffic, it is believed that impending epidemics can be picked up early, going by initial patient flows into these private clinics.

“Following decisions taken at a State-level coordination meeting on epidemics and monsoon preparedness, we have asked private hospitals to ensure one person is put in charge of surveillance. This person will be responsible to report any cases of waterborne and vector-borne diseases,” R.T. Porkaipandian, Director of Public Health, said.

While private hospitals are mandated to notify cases of 22 infectious diseases to the State surveillance unit, appointing an individual for the express purpose will fix accountability and ensure that the right information reaches the State. The monsoon season is when the incidence of certain infectious diseases climbs, and can rapidly and easily reach epidemic proportions, Dr. Porkaipandian said. During such instances, it would be better to contain the situation with traditional public health measures even as the first few cases come in.

Among the 22 notifiable infectious diseases (mandated by the State Government) those that gain significance during the monsoons include diphtheria, cholera, plague, epidemic influenza, viral chikungunya, typhoid, enteric fever, malaria and viral encephalitis.

Outbreaks of cholera, acute diarrhoeal disease, malaria and other viral infections are common during the monsoon season. Drinking boiled water, avoiding eating uncooked food from outside and maintaining good personal hygiene are some of the ways one could escape such infections, experts advise.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National