Holiday declared for all schools in Puducherry, Karaikal as fever cases spike

Parents, along with their children,  waiting in a queue to get treatment for fever at a clinic on Mission Street in Puducherry on Friday.

Parents, along with their children, waiting in a queue to get treatment for fever at a clinic on Mission Street in Puducherry on Friday. | Photo Credit: S.S. KUMAR

The government has declared a holiday for all schools in Puducherry and Karaikal for Classes I to VIII from Saturday till September 25, following a sharp spike in influenza cases among children in recent weeks.

The decision to declare a week’s holiday for government and private schools in these regions from Saturday to Sunday next came after Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and Education Minister A. Namassivayam approved a Health Department recommendation to declare holiday for schools for a short period as a precautionary step given the sharp increase in the incidence of fever cases among children in Puducherry and elsewhere. The Director of School Education said the holiday applied to students of LKG, UKG classes as well.

The Health Department had noted that in the past 10 days there is an estimated 50% spike in fever cases among children visiting various health institutions in Puducherry. Most of the children are reporting high grade fever with cough and cold. As a result, there is a substantive increase in the number of children visiting Out-Patient Departments in various hospitals and the number of inpatients in Rajiv Gandhi Government Women and Children Hospital.

This flu like illness spreads when children inhale droplets from infected persons or when they come into direct contact with mucous from patients. Hence, the spread is very high among children attending schools. Ideally, infected people must stay at home and maintain hand hygiene, use face mask and maintain social distancing to bring down this infection.

In these circumstances, the Health Department requested the government to close down schools for Classes I to VIII temporarily to help bring down flu cases in Puducherry/Karaikal.

Meanwhile, the Health Department has established dedicated fever clinics in government hospitals and PHCs across the Union Territory, following the sharp spike in influenza cases over the past couple of weeks.

In the Health Department’s assessment, the ongoing seasonal flu incidence around the time of the monsoon was appearing to be more alarming in magnitude than it usually is because the spread of influenza was largely stifled in the past two years due to the COVID-19 restrictions on free movement and the stipulation of wearing protective masks.

With the decline of COVID-19 cases and the diminished threat of the coronavirus infection, people have began crowding at markets and shopping establishments and stopped wearing masks, and this in turn, was resulting in rapid transmission of seasonal viral fever in the community following the recent spell of rain, the Health Department said in a press note.

To deal with this situation, the Health Department authorities are currently running 24-hour dedicated outpatient and inpatient wards for influenza at Government General Hospitals in Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam, the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government Women and Children’s Hospital, G. Sriramulu, Health Director said.

The department has also ensured that all hospitals have adequate doctors and medicines for the treatment of fever. In addition, an exclusive outpatient treatment for fever is being provided in all PHCs. The department appealed to the public to not be alarmed and that the fever was very much controllable with proper treatment.

“We are beginning to see a slight drop in fever cases among adults in the last few days. What we are more worried about now is the resurfacing of dengue cases. Frontline workers have stepped up activities and we are also coordinating with line departments for vector-control measures to prevent the spread of dengue fever during the rainy season ahead,” Dr. Sriramulu said.

The Health Department has advised the public to drink boiled water, wear a face mask, and maintain social distancing while venturing outside. If there is a flu patient in the house, the patient should wear a face mask, isolate himself/ herself and avoid going to gatherings. People should avoid outside food and stagnation of rainwater around the house or in the neighbourhood, the department said in the press note.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2022 11:33:07 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/holiday-declared-for-all-schools-in-puducherry-karaikal-as-fever-cases-spike/article65899294.ece