Special Correspondent

No cause for alarm; steps taken to contain disease

208 medical teams with 10,000 personnel sent to affected districtsThe disease spread from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and MaharashtraPeople urged to avoid water stagnation

CHENNAI: About 11,000 people in 17 districts in the State are affected by chikungunya but there is no cause for alarm as urgent steps are being taken to contain the disease, said Health Minister K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran here on Wednesday.

Talking to newsmen, the Minister said 208 medical teams with 10,000 personnel were sent to the affected districts and they were working round the clock. In the rest of the 12 districts, preventive measures were being taken up in full swing. So far there was not a single case of death due to the disease. Unfortunately there was no preventive vaccine for the disease.

The disease, caused mainly by mosquitoes, had spread from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, where more than five lakh people were affected in the last one year. People from Tamil Nadu who visited those States might have carried the disease virus and spread it to people here. Symptoms of the disease were fever along with body and joint aches, which would last for four or five days.

The Minister said blood samples collected from 229 affected people were sent to the National Virus Laboratory, Pune. The results tested positive in 27 cases. As mosquitoes bred in stagnant water were the carriers of the disease, people were advised to avoid water stagnation in their areas. The Government had also formed rapid response teams in districts, which would rush to villages on hearing any case of the disease and would suitably advice the primary health centre concerned.

Doctor posts

The Minister said steps were being taken to fill all vacancies in government hospitals. About 1,500 doctors had already been selected by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission and they would get postings soon. The Government would take a decision on regularising the services of 1,700 doctors, appointed on contract basis by the previous Government. Similarly, 2,500 nurse vacancies would also be filled and the pending promotion list would be released soon.