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Fresh dengue cases: health department on toes to contain further outbreak

P. Sudhakar
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5 cases from Sankarankoil, 3 from Tirunelveli Health Unit District reported

Shelter for the breed:Discarded coconut shells are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes spreading dengue.— Photo: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN
Shelter for the breed:Discarded coconut shells are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes spreading dengue.— Photo: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN

With the arrival of isolated dengue cases at the government hospitals and the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital here, the Department of Health Services has fully geared-up to neutralise the challenge even before the situation goes out of control during ensuing northeast monsoon season.

As the dreaded outbreak of dengue, which spread menacingly from Kadayanallur to other parts of the district between March and July this year to consume the lives of more than 40 patients, mostly children, has now started spreading again in some parts of the district, health department officials have been put on high alert. The high influx of 350 dengue patients a day into the government hospitals across the district and Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital here during the outbreak has come down drastically.

While five cases of dengue from Sankarankovil Health Unit District have been confirmed so far and the patients admitted to Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, three more cases from Tirunelveli Health Unit District have been reported and they are also undergoing treatment at TVMCH. As all these patients are adults, their condition is quite stable, thanks to the timely medical intervention and the individuals’ immunity.

Even as the northeast monsoon is likely to start in mid-October, the Health Department officials and field staff have been asked to look for suspected dengue cases and take immediate and sustained measures to keep the situation under control as bitter lessons were learnt during the previous outbreak.

Since doctors have been advised to test the samples taken from patients suffering from high fever for dengue and chikungunya, the results are obtained immediately for administering appropriate line of treatment and suitable action to be taken up jointly by the local body concerned and the health department officials.

“On receiving the results, health department officials are being rushed to the patients’ place where fogging, anti-larval and anti-adult mosquito eradication operations are started immediately. If the local bodies can extend more support to us during this operation, we can keep the situation fully under control and effectively check the spread of the outbreak,” S. Uma, Deputy Director of Health Services, Tirunelveli district told ‘The Hindu’ here on Saturday.

Two specially trained teams, functioning under the direct supervision of Dr. Uma, are being deployed in the affected areas to contain the outbreak. “As dengue has become a no-seasonal endemic and the cases are being reported throughout the year, we’ve to be careful and prepared to face the challenge,” she noted.

However, the fear psychosis that was triggered following the dreadful dengue outbreak during the first half of this year and consequent deaths has almost vanished among the public, who refuse to cooperate with the personnel involved in anti-dengue operations now. When the health department officials try to pour anti-mosquito larval agent in the water stored in the houses in an affected area at Sankarankovil, the residents resisted it vehemently, saying that they, suffering from acute water scarcity, would not be able to use it for bathing if the ‘chemical’ was added to it.

“Since dengue can be controlled only through integrated and coordinated efforts, the local bodies and the people should cooperate with the official machinery in destroying the mosquito. Otherwise, there is every chance of people getting affected by this endemic,” said Dr. Uma.

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