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Malaria test for labourers

mumbai Updated: Oct 17, 2009 00:59 IST
Bhavika Jain

With the rise in cases of malaria in the city in comparison to last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to screen construction labourers to keep spread of malaria under control.

“Construction labourers are being singled out because they work at construction sites, which hold massive breeding grounds for malaria,” said Executive Health Officer Dr Jairaj Thanekar. “These people work for different contractors and go from one job to another and from one part of the city to another.”

He said as a result of this minor migration, they carry the virus with them to other parts of the city. According to the data with the civic department, over 6.6 lakh blood samples have been collected in the last 10 months, which were only 5.5 lakh last year.

“The number of positive cases has increased by 30,000 since last year and 60 per cent of the infected patients constitute labourers,” added Thanekar.

There have been no less than 1,413 cases of malaria in Mumbai this month, with 33 deaths. “With early detection and pre-emptive treatment, over 60 per cent of malaria patients can be saved,” he said.

The six mobile screening vans deployed by the civic authority to screen people with H1N1 have now been asked to focus on locating malaria patients in city. “The surveillance outfit that was previously used to find cases of H1N1 in slums, will now be asked to focus on malaria cases, said additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.

He added that the worst affected wards are E, F-south, G-north, G-south, L and M-east which cover areas like Dadar, Prabhadevi, Matunga,Worli, Mankhurd and Kurla.

Meanwhile, threat of the swine flu has gone down due to rising temperatures. Only three per cent of the 531 swabs sent for testing in October have tested positive.