State braces for battle with monsoon diseases

People queuing up for tests at the Fever Hospital in Nallakunta during last monsoon.

People queuing up for tests at the Fever Hospital in Nallakunta during last monsoon.   | Photo Credit: G. RAMAKRISHNA

Health dept. staff being trained to differentiate seasonal ailments from COVID-19

With the monsoon a few weeks away, preparations are under way to minimise mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria and chikungunya. Given the similarities in symptoms of those diseases and COVID-19, Health department staff are being trained to differentiate one from another.

Usually, vector-borne diseases numbers increase during the monsoon due to water stagnation, serving as a breeding space for mosquitoes. As per latest statistics provided by officials, around 589 dengue cases and 227 malaria cases were detected in the State from January 1 to May 20.

Though COVID-19 cases continue to surge, the Health department will also focus on the vector-borne diseases as a high number of dengue cases were reported last monsoon. Besides, increase in other diseases apart from COVID-19 will further burden the department’s staff.

Currently, Accredited Social Health Activists and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives have been going door to door in a few districts as part of a fever survey to find out if anyone has symptoms of COVID-19. “During monsoon, they will also ask if anybody has symptoms of dengue, malaria and chikungunya. They are being trained to distinguish between the diseases,” said a senior official from the department.

The Health staff will go also conduct home visits to inform people not to store water in vessels without covering it. If water gets accumulated in objects such as tyres or broken pots, people will be urged to clear it out regularly.

District Health authorities said that they have procured the material required to conduct anti-larval operations in villages. Pyrethrum spray, fogging and other mechanisms will be used. Officials from Bhadradri Kothagudem said that Pyrethrum will be sprayed in 444 villages across the district.

“People will be informed in advance about when will it be sprayed. It helps in avoiding as well as killing mosquitoes. Besides, mosquito nets will be distributed to 5,610 persons living in vulnerable areas,” another official said.

Among all districts, Wanaparthy experiences a peculiar situation. Though no COVID-19 cases was recorded there, at least 38 dengue cases were reported in Amarchinta town in the first two weeks of April. Health staff took up measures to prevent mosquito breeding.

Wanaparthy District Medical and Health Officer A. Srinivas said that they will continue to implement Friday-dry day concept to check water stagnation.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 8:54:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/state-braces-for-battle-with-monsoon-diseases/article31635393.ece

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