Fever cases on the rise in Alappuzha

Staff Reporter

Few wards have utilised funds for sanitation

Banks refuse to open zero balance accounts, reason panchayat officials

Two weeks ago a Central team had declared the district safe from chikungunya

ALAPPUZHA: The grip of viral fever tightened on the district on Wednesday with 1,114 fresh cases reported on Wednesday. On Tuesday, this was 942 while on Monday it was 1,115. A total of 15,000 fever cases have been reported from Alappuzha so far in May-June, as per official statistics.

Four of the new cases on Wednesday were suspected to have chikungunya while 106 were admitted in various hospitals. Chunakara had the maximum fever reportage on Wednesday with 111 cases while Chengannur had 104. Muthukulam reported 97 cases while Pulinkunnu, where three persons were diagnosed with chikungunya already, had 60.

District Medical Officer N.N. Murali said there were no chikungunya confirmations on Wednesday. The confirmed cases stood at 13 so far, he said.

16 test IgM positive

Meanwhile, out of the 39 samples from Alappuzha tested at the State Virology Institute on Tuesday, 16 reported positive for Immune Globulin M (IgM), the type of antibody produced early in the immune response to the disease virus. Officials maintained that these could not be ruled as chikungunya cases, though there was a chance that some of these could contract the chikungunya virus later.

With fever incidence too on an ascent in the district, the official claim that Alappuzha was out of danger is now being questioned by several quarters, including public representatives.

Since the monsoon is just beginning and because last year’s chikungunya outbreak was from July onwards, the situation in Alappuzha is quite uncertain, they say.

The official claim also appears ironical because it was barely two weeks ago that a Union Government-appointed team, after a two-day study tour of the district, said that Alappuzha was safe as far as chikungunya was concerned. Thirteen cases have come up in 10 days after that.

Moreover, the vector-control and sanitation drive that the district health authority had initiated is yet to gather full steam.

Proof of this is the controversy over the Rs.1 crore that was given to the 1,000-odd wards in the district at the rate of Rs.10,000 per ward for sanitation and vector control activities.

Wards that have utilised this sum are very few, top district officials admit.

The reason cited by many ward and panchayat officials for not using the money more than two weeks after the cheques reached them was that they could not encash the cheques because “banks refused to open zero balance accounts”.

However, officials in the district administration point out that this is a “lame excuse” because “responsible” panchayats like Nooranad had immediately called up the District Collector, who in turn talked to the bank concerned and solved the impasse.

Dangerous trend

“If vector control and sanitation drives are not taken up at the ward level, that is dangerous for the entire district because these are the measures that will help us keep chikungunya under control once the monsoon is over. If wards have failed to utilize money given to them, Alappuzha could be heading for danger,” a senior official says.

Meanwhile, the medical surveillance team from the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune wound up its tour of the district with visits to Government hospitals in Cherthala and Muhamma and the State Virology Institute. The team left for Pathanamthitta in the afternoon.

Banks refuse to open zero balance accounts, reason panchayat officials

Two weeks ago a Central team had declared the district safe from chikungunya

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