Health officials inspect CMCH

The Department of Public Health swung into action on Monday at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital after two women nursing students tested positive for dengue and were said to be suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. One was in the intensive care unit of the CMCH and the other in a private hospital. Their condition was said to be critical, officials in the team from Chennai told The Hindu .

Three other students, out of the 24 who had reported sick over a week, were suffering from jaundice, the officials said.

The officials went around the CMCH, where the School of Nursing was located. They took water samples for chemical and bacterial analysis, following suspicion that the students might have consumed contaminated water at the hostel.

The team took water samples from the tanks that were found to be mixed with sewage. The samples would be tested for the presence of disease-causing bacteria. Another three-member research team from the National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, was also involved in studying the possibilities of outbreak of epidemic on the premises.

Collector M. Karunakaran inspected the water storage tanks at the School of Nursing and asked the Corporation officials to immediately clean the underground tanks and overhead tanks. He asked the officials to place two plastic tanks for providing drinking water to the students and also instructed the officials to remove the piled up garbage and bushes.

Blood and urine samples were taken from students who complained of fever. The officials said some of them showed symptoms of dengue, such as headache, fever and severe body pain. But, the results of tests were awaited.

Hospital authorities said that 11 students who had no such symptoms were discharged on Monday, while the rest were out of danger. The college authorities declared leave for a week for the third and first year students, while the second year students were undergoing their practical examinations.

A doctor at the CMCH said that viral fever was common during changes in weather and asked people to boil the water and drink. He cautioned people not to go in for self-medication in case of symptoms of fever. They should consult a doctor to avoid complications.

Meanwhile, the lack of hygiene in the CMCH, especially at the nursing school and hostel, has come under sharp focus. One of the officials said that the situation was as bad at the hostel for the house surgeons. The house surgeons recalled a bout of diarrhoea they suffered last month. Conservancy workers from the Coimbatore Corporation removed garbage on Monday. A mass cleaning has been planned for Tuesday.