Dennis Marcus Mathew
Aches, swellings, infections throw many lives out of gear
IDUKKI: The high ranges of Idukki have started shivering: the viral fever that brought down nearly three lakh people in Kottayam has travelled along the K.K. Road to Idukki, and so far, has left the daily routines of 1,43,651 people in tatters.
The trail is clear. Though the severity of the outbreak is yet to be felt in the higher areas, hospitals and primary health centres beyond Mundakayam to the nearby Peruvanthanam region, and on the other side, via Ernakulam and parts of Kottayam to Thodupuzha, had a large number of people seeking outpatient care till last week.
The numbers have started dipping though, and like in Kottayam, the authorities are now searching for ways to tackle the post-fever set of symptoms.
The Kanjirapally Taluk Hospital, which is quite accessible to those living on the Kottayam-Idukki border, too has received a share of Idukki’s patients.
“The number of fresh cases has come down and it is the post-fever scenario that is a problem now,” Sathyan, pharmacy in-charge at the Idukki District Hospital says.
“I was bedridden for around six days. But the backache is yet to subside,” says Sunu Abraham, a 30-year-old travel agent.
“We have not had many severe chikungunya cases till now. Most of them have been regular viral fevers, which could be handled with taking proper rest and drinking plenty of water. For backaches, swellings and other post-fever symptoms including secondary infections, we are prescribing painkillers and antibiotics. But these symptoms last for at least two weeks,” points out Mr. Sathyan.
Idukki’s plantations too have slowly started reporting fever cases.
“We were already reeling under the damage and crop loss inflicted by rain. Now, there is a scarcity of labour too, because most of them are down with fever. We are thinking of bringing workers from other places to keep the business running,” says Jobby Abraham, proprietor of Cross Mount Plantations, Pambanar.
In Idukki, 22 people were confirmed to have chikungunya. There are 485 suspected chikungunya cases and 1.43 lakh have sought treatment for fever, 93,000 of them in the last 46 days.
The fever is yet to spread to regions beyond Thodupuzha or Painavu.
“We are doing our best to keep the situation under control,” says DMO K.S. Anil Kumar.