Dhanbad district, especially the divisional jail, is in the grip of viral fever with hospitals receiving a stream of patients laid low by high fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough.
Fever cases in the jail touched 250 on Sunday. In the past one week, around 20 prisoners suffering from fever went to the outpatient department of the jail hospital every day, a health official said.
“Since prisoners are housed more than the capacity of the jail, infection spreads fast,” he said. The jail has around 1200 inmates against its capacity of 700.
Jail doctor Alok Viswakarma said, “Handling a large number of patients at a time was a challenge for us. But no patient is serious. Viral fever stays for three to four days. Affected prisoners are being given medicines.”
On an average 70 to 80 patients, mostly children, came to the OPD of Patliputra Medical College Hospital (PMCH) every day in the past one week.
PMCH superintendent Dr Ranjan Pandey said, “Considering the rush of viral fever patients, a special OPD has been set up for diagnosis and treatment. There is no dearth of medicines in the hospital.”
Cloudy and humid weather makes people vulnerable to viral fever that subsides once rain picks up, said physician NK Singh.
“Seasonal flu virus has no serious impact as it stays for a short period. But high fever could lead to trouble if it turns into pneumonia (lung inflammation caused by viral infection). It is also dangerous for HIV and tuberculosis patients whose immune power is weak.”
The health department directed medical officers in charge of eight community health centres (CHCs) to keep OPDs open on Sundays for rural patients.
“Essential medicines have been stocked at all eight block CHCs to cater to the seasonal fever patients,” said Dr Arun Kumar Sinha, officiating civil surgeon of Dhanbad.