UP deaths causedby dengue, 2 other diseases: Centre
A majority of the fever cases in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad district are due to dengue, and a few due to scrub typhus and leptospirosis, according to the investigation of Union health ministry’s expert team which was rushed to the region following a fever outbreak that has claimed at least 51 lives, mostly children.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection; scrub typhus is caused by bacteria spread by mites; and leptospirosis spreads through water or soil contaminated by the urine of bacteria-infected animals such as pigs, dogs, rodents, etc.
As many as 51 persons have died, of which at least 36 includes children, in Western Uttar Pradesh over the past two weeks. Hundreds more are undergoing treatment for the diseases currently.
A six-member central team of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and National Vector Borne Disease Control Porgramme (NVBDCP) was rushed to Firozabad last week. Preliminary findings of its investigation were submitted to the Union health ministry on Monday.
“The central team has observed that the majority of cases are due to dengue, while a few because of scrub typhus and leptospirosis. Vector indices were also found to be high with house index and container index, both, above 50% in Firozabad district; and accordingly the vector surveillance and control measures have been instituted,” said Bhushan in his letter to UP chief secretary, RK Tiwari.
These indices show the percentage of homes of containers infested with larvae during inspections.
Based on their detailed observation, the government experts recommended a slew of measures that must be strictly and quickly implemented to contain the outbreak.
All fever patients need to be screened for dengue, malaria, scrub typhus, and leptospirosis, the team suggested; along with ongoing fever survey, vector control measures, and fever camps to be continued at the local level.
Surveillance needs to be strengthened with the implementation of Integrated Health Information Platform in the district in coordination with central surveillance unit of the integrated disease surveillance programme (IDSP) and NCDC.
“Entomological (related to insects) activities to be strengthened and continued as per standard guidelines and standard operating procedures of NVBDCP (National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme). Isolation beds and admission facilities in district hospital of Firozabad and neighbouring districts need to be augmented; a short reorientation should be organised of all doctors at primary health centre, community health centre, and district hospital cum medical college on recent guidelines for management of dengue, scrub typhus and leptospirosis; services of experts on infectious diseases from KGMU and similar institutions may be utilized for this purpose; and information education and communication activities need to be intensified by the district administration,” Bhushan added in his letter outlining the central team’s suggestions.
NCDC has also deputed two senior experts in the district for 14 days to help the district in strengthening its outbreak response.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath held a meeting and directed teams of specialists from Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and King George’s Medical University in Lucknow to also be sent to Firozabad, Agra and Mathura to guide local doctors and oversee treatment of patients.
To contain the outbreak, the Firozabad district administration has said it is releasing about 25,000 mosquitofish that eat larvae of dengue-breeding mosquitoes in ponds.
District health officials have started releasing the fish, generically known as Gambusia, in ponds in urban as well as rural areas of the district, Dinesh Kumar Premi, chief medical officer (CMO) told PTI.