With cases of dengue infections slowly rising as September approaches, the State Health department is on a high alert as neighbouring states are battling a massive surge in infections this year.
Both private and public hospitals have been treating infections round the year, with numbers climbing after the onset of rains. However, September is when the numbers tend to peak. The city-based Fever Hospital, the public health facility where many patients from across the State arrive for out-patient consultations, has seen its numbers jump this month.
“We have had over 15 cases this month, which is higher than last month. Though they have been treated, it is a sign of more cases that is likely to come in September,” said Dr. Shankar, the hospital’s superintendent.
This year, Telangana has reported over 634 cases of dengue. This number pales in comparison with nearly 7,000 cases reported by Tamil Nadu, about 6,000 cases by Karnataka and close to 16,000 cases reported by Kerala. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh has also reported twice the number, prompting some within the health administration to believe that the State is under-reporting its numbers.
However, those executing the Centre-sponsored vector control programme in the State maintain that Telangana is not under-reporting.
“Other States are indeed reeling under a large number of infections. We are reporting every case that is being notified. Since last year, we have also ramped up our surveillance and are continuing to do so this year too,” said Dr. S. Prabhavathi, State Programme Officer for the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme.
She added that the State is also setting up more surveillance centres this year.
Dr. Prabhavathi explained that not every reported case of dengue can be counted as the government accepts only those which have been confirmed by ELISA testing. In many cases, dengue is offered as diagnosis to patients after rapid test, which can throw up false positive, the official added.
The high numbers in neighbouring states has prompted the health administration to step anti-larval operations and also speed up distribution of medicated mosquito nets in areas where a large number of cases are being reported.