The death toll due to chikungunya touched 96 in Kerala with five more deaths being reported on Saturday from the worst-hit Cherthala in Alappuzha district, even as the state agencies stepped up the sanitation drive to check the spread of the disease.
The experts team from central institutions, which completed its on-the-spot assessment of the situation in Alappuzha, proposed a three-pronged action plan for prevention and control of the epidemic caused by virus spread by mosquitoes.
While tests had confirmed that the area was hit by outbreak of chikungunya, the experts stuck to the view that the disease need not be the primary cause for fatalities.
"It is a viral disease. But it is not a fatal disease. A team of doctors from WHO, National Institute of Virology and National Institute of Communicable Diseases are examining the cause of recent deaths," Dr PL Joshi, Director, National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme, told a press meet.
The team, led by Dr Joshi, also held talks with state Health Minister PK Sreemathy and senior officials.
According to official sources, the flow of people to hospitals in Cherthala had begun to come down. The strength of doctors and paramedics in hospitals had been beefed up.
Local bodies, with the help of NGOs, had already begun mosquito-control measures like fogging and spraying of insecticides in the affected areas.
The state has been witnessing its outbreak since the last three weeks.