Anti-dengue operations have been intensified in Tirunelveli district even as the death toll mounted to 29. The outbreak of dengue, whose impact is seen in other southern districts, has put public health officials on their toes.

In neighbouring Tuticorin district, four cases were under treatment at Tuticorin Medical College Hospital. In Kanyakumrai, 67 persons with dengue were treated since January and two of them, including a six-month-old baby from Mayilaadi, died.

In Virudhunagar one person died in Varalotti near Mallankinaru.

High-level meeting

Noting that 29 persons in Tirunelveli district have died of dengue so far, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday directed officials to intensify measures to control the spread of the disease.

After chairing a high-level meeting to review the position, the Chief Minister, in a statement, said complete cleaning work would be taken up in Tirunelveli.

In all other districts, fumigation would continue for the next two months. Of 1,466 people hospitalised, 817 were diagnosed with dengue. Of them, 423 patients were still undergoing treatment. An official said the total number of deaths covered the period starting from January. But, 24 of them succumbed to the disease in May.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said the Indian Council for Medical Research had attributed the cause of the spread of the disease to dengue virus type-I and type-III. Health Minister V.S. Vijay visited Kadayanallur and Tenkasi on May 17 and studied the situation. Since May 18, the authorities conducted 38 awareness and medical camps in the district at a rate of two per taluk.

In addition to opening two paediatric wards at the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, an entomologist for every taluk and one senior entomologist for three taluks had been posted. Under a senior entomologist, 25 entomologists were carrying out supervision. The awareness generation work and disease detection were being executed by a medical officer for each taluk and another such officer in each municipality. Two deputy directors and three health officers were additionally drafted. Twenty nine vehicles were made available for containing the spread of disease.

A high-level committee, comprising special secretary of the Health department, Directors of Public Health, Medical Education and Medical and Rural Health Services and additional director of Public Health, was camping in Tirunelveli to step up the anti-dengue operations. Totally, 1,330 employees in town and village panchayats were involved in vector control work since May 16. As a result, the spread of disease to neighbouring districts had largely been contained, she added.