IN A repeat of the chikungunya episode, the fever-battered masses here are being exposed to yet another mosquito-borne disease – dengue. However, the authorities maintain there are no cases of the fatal disease in the City as yet; notwithstanding the fact that three patients have tested positive over past one week in private hospitals.
However, in wake of its outbreak in neighbouring states and in New Delhi, the government machinery has geared up its fight against the disease-causing mosquitoes. For the first time, a coordinated effort has been made by all related departments to fight the menace with the district administration pooling in resources from the Health Department, the Women and Child Development Department and also the Indore Municipal Corporation.
Health authorities are carrying out spraying and fogging activities in various parts of the City. The authorities also claim there has been a special emphasis on garbage collection and proper disposal since past few days. But are the efforts and the manpower sufficient to meet the demand of the testing times?
“We have deployed 112 malaria workers, eight spray workers and 23 surveillance workers in the field. We have also roped in ANMs (one each per ward), who have been spreading awareness about the disease and urging people to maintain cleanliness,” Additional Collector Renu Pant said here on Saturday.
When asked if the field staff deployed was sufficient with respect to the population and area of the City, she said, “We have to use whatever is available. We have deployed all the staff we have. That is all we can do.” Aganwadi workers are also helping the administration in this effort.
Fifteen extra dumpers have been put to use to clear garbage. There is just one fogging machine for the entire City, comprising 69 wards. District Malaria Officer Dr M C Jeenwal said, “We have handed over the fogging machine to the IMC. The driver and the medicine would be our contribution, rest is being taken care by the municipal authorities.”
The workers have cleared as many as 85 water bodies, which were larva carrying and thus helping the spread of mosquito-related diseases. The authorities have been spraying medicine since a long time. But as one of the doctors points out, “all these efforts are anti-larval measures which kill the larva of the disease-causing mosquito. But what is needed is an effort to control adult mosquito. Its always possible that the mosquito is already carrying the disease.”
As part of the ‘preventive, promotive and curative’ trinity, the administration has also increased awareness drives and handing out pamphlets in different areas.
In the meantime, no government hospital has officially reported any positive case as yet, but three cases were reported positive in private hospitals here. CMHO Dr K K Vijayvergiya said, “There has been no official report about any dengue case in the City.”
Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Dubey from the District Hospital echoed the same thing and said, “There has been no patient of dengue yet. We are taking all precautions from our side.
The facility for testing is by way of the platelets tests, which can be done at MY Hospital.” When contacted, Head of the Microbiology Department at Choithram Hospital and Research Centre Prof Dr D S Chitnis said, “Last week we received two samples which tested positive for dengue through the antibodies method. This method clubbed with clinical symptom, can be taken as a sure method to find about dengue.”
“But we cannot call this as an outbreak or epidemic as yet as the cases are just a trickle. But we are nevertheless keeping a watch as the vector is the same as chikungunya.” Dr Chitnis said.
One patient tested positive at the CHL Apollo Hospital last week. “There was just one case last week. But we are being very cautious as you never know, this can always spiral into an epidemic as the mosquitoes carrying this disease are abundant everywhere,” said CMO on duty Dr K G Agarwal.