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Defence medicos step in

india Updated: Jun 10, 2007 22:49 IST

Efforts to contain the outbreak of viral fever in Kerala intensified on Sunday with defence medical teams stepping in to help the state health authorities and medicines and preventive kits being flown in to the state from the Army Depot in Mumbai.

Medical teams of the Army and Navy, comprising doctors and paramedical staff, plunged into action in the worst-hit districts of Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Idukki helping the state medical personnel in launching vector-control and sanitation measures.

According to a Defence spokesman, one team each from the Pangode Military Station were already doing service in Pathanamthitta and Amburi in Thiruvananthapuram and two Naval teams from Kochi had reached Kottayam and Idukki districts.

A special IAF flight carrying medicines and vector-control kits from the Army Depot in Mumbai has reached and the supplies would be moved to the affected areas immediately.

Army teams from Secundrabad and Chennai would arrive at the affected areas by Sunday. Also a central team led by Director General of Health Services is expected to arrive here this evening to assess the situation and decide on the support to the state to tackle the situation.

While the number of deaths in the state due to different types of fever including Chikungunya was officially put at 40, media reports from across the state said the actual figure could have crossed 50.

Meanwhile, Additional Director of the Pune-based Vector Borne Diseases Control Institute, PK Sreevastava, discussed the situation with state Health Minister PK Sreemathi.

At Amboori,about 30km east of the state capital, the military team had set up a medical camp with facilities like a temporary testing lab. They also began mosquito-control measures like fogging and cleaning the vulnerable areas.

Similarly, in Pathanamthitta district, the medical team had begun an extensive fogging drive with the help of local authorities.

Two medical teams from the Naval Hospital at Kochi, equipped with medicines and fogging machines, had been dispatched to Kottayam and Idukki districts.

A control room had been opened in the government secretariat to monitor the situation by keeping in touch with the district authorities.

A week-long sanitation drive with the support of government agencies, local bodies, NGOs and medical fraternity would be launched on June 12.

The Government had also ordered necessary funds for purchase of medicines and improvement of emergency facilities in Government hospitals as fresh fever cases continued to be reported from many places.

Meanwhile,the state chapter of the Indian Medical Association today said they would set up 'epidemic councils' at the state and district levels 'to combat the spread of fever.'

IMA state president C K Chandrasekharan and secretary R Ramesh told reporters at Palakkad that there was no need to create a scare over the issue. Only ten percent of the 40 deaths reported in the state were due to fever alone and the rest of the patients had other ailments, they said.

The IMA leaders said the government was not consulting with the Association as it had done when chikungunya was reported in Cherthala last year.

All IMA units had been alerted to take effective measures to prevent the spread of fever, they said.Temporary steps would not be sufficient and a permanent solution was needed, the IMA office-bearers said.