The dengue virus is spreading its tentacles at an alarming rate in Jammu especially in Samba district, where 168 dengue patients are receiving treatment at present in Ludhiana.
Despite state health department's initiatives, including establishing sample collection centres in Jammu region and other preventive measures to control and combat dengue, it has failed to stop the spread of the virus.
In Samba, the tally could be much higher, as besides Ludhiana, hundreds of patients are getting treatment in hospitals in Amritsar, Pathankot, Jalandhar and Delhi.
The reason for patients resorting to others centres is the "non-serious" attitude of state health department to check the growing menace of dengue and lack of desirable treatment in district hospitals.
On Tuesday, six dengue patients were admitted to Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Jammu, from neighbouring Akhnoor district, which was not affected by the virus so far.
Samba health authorities, however, maintained that only 149 cases of dengue have been detected in the district so far. Director health services Jammu Dr BS Pathania on Monday had said that 364 patients have been tested positive with dengue from all over Jammu region and most of them belonged to Samba district.
Those who can afford treatment are opting for private or other hospitals outside the state, while the situation has become worrisome for marginal sections.
Even the overburdened Government Medical Hospital in Jammu is finding it difficult to cater to swelling number of dengue patients.
Some cases referred from Samba to GMCH are being sent back. In one such case, condition of a patient, Parul, from Samba has turned critical.
Also there is only one machine in the entire Jammu province (in GMCH Jammu) to carry out enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test to detect dengue.
No other hospital in Jammu has the facility to conduct the tests to detect dengue. Moreover, a patient has to wait for 5-6 days to get the reports at GMCH and such long delay can prove fatal.
The tests are available in a number of private laboratories in Jammu, who provide the reports in maximum three days.
The district hospitals are not equipped to treat dengue patients, as a result of which they refer them to GMCH.
It is also learnt that in the next couple of days Bagwati Nagar base camp, Jammu, which hosts pilgrims of Amaranth Yatra would be turned into a facility to treat dengue patients.
Deputy commissioner, Samba, SK Varma said: "We have taken all measures to control the spread of dengue. We have even involved the local gram sabhas and are educating them about the virus."
On the reasons for such high number of dengue cases in Samba as compared to other districts, nodal health officer Dr Vikas Bhardwaj said: "There cannot be any specific reason. This year there was large stagnation of water due to heavy monsoons in the area. And also the temperatures are favourable for breeding of mosquitoes, which led to the spread of the virus."
In reality, the number of dengue patients in Jammu are in thousands, with many opting for treatment at private clinics and hospitals in neighbouring state and the government has miserably failed to check the spread of disease and provide appropriate treatment to patients.