Dengue becomes severe in Pune

According to the state health department, Pune city is recorded with 1,047 dengue cases and 5 deaths. As the dengue sting gets lethal but the state health department has refused on spread of the disease “officials blamed the prevailing weather conditions for the rise in dengue cases.”

M S Diggikar, joint director (vector-borne diseases) of the state health department, said, “ “The intermittent drizzles followed by sunny days as seen during August and September created conducive breeding grounds for Aedes Aegypti — the mosquito that causes dengue”.

Moreover, when it comes to counting number of diseases, pune city continues to be first in rank with 320 cases, followed by Bombay 295. Activists working on the issue have said that the health department does not take the necessary steps and as a result people suffer.

Health activists, Abhijit More said, “During the Ganesh festival, the health authorities could have used audio-visual and other mass media tools to reach a large number of the population. Besides, municipal corporations need to set up dedicated fever clinics, especially during the monsoon, to identify patients suffering from the disease at early stage. Early detection and treatment hold the key to ward off the menace that dengue has become.”

News Sources- Times of India

Dengue hits Pune city fringes

Dengue virus is on the prowl on the city fringes. Almost 60% of dengue cases reported this year have been detected among residents living in areas falling under the city’s four ward offices.

A total 147 out of the 248 patients, who tested positive for dengue, are from Dhankawadi Sahakarnagar, Hadapsar Mundhwa, Ahmednagar Road-Vadgaonsheri and Bhavani Peth ward office areas.

The latest report of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s insect control department reveals that the mosquito-borne disease has covered all the 15 ward offices in Pune city. But compared to the fringe areas, city’s core areas falling in Kothrud, Karvenagar -Warje, Tilak road-Sinhagad road and Aundh-Baner ward office areas have reported lesser number of dengue cases.

The objective of mapping of dengue cases is to intensify surveillance and containment of activities in the identified high risk areas so that the situation does not spiral out of control. The report takes into account only confirmed cases of dengue tested at government designated sentinel centres.

“We have already intensified measures to contain the spread of dengue in the identified areas. The multi-pronged approach will help rein in cases in the next few days,”  Vaishali Jadhav , assistant medical officer of health (AMoH), PMC told TOI.

TOI quoted Kalpana Baliwant, head of the insect control department, PMC saying, “We have pressed into service three high capacity vehicle mounted fogging machines in these areas. The highly concentrated fogging that covers around half a kilometre area will kill the infected adult mosquitoes and help contain the disease. Besides, the civic health department has roped in additional 300 contractual health workers, increasing the existing strength to 600 workers. These workers have been deployed mainly for house to house surveys for destroying mosquito larvae”

Source: The Times of India

Dengue outbreak kills 21 in Kerala

In the past three weeks, a dengue outbreak has killed at least 21 people in Kerala. According to a government official, there has been a shortage of medicines and health workers to tackle the crisis in the state.

Reuters reported that more than 11,000 people have been infected with this mosquito-borne dengue virus that causes flu-like symptoms and can develop into a deadly hemorrhagic dengue fever. This has forced the state to buy new hospital beds and cancel medical staff leave.

Expressing concern over the issue, Kerala’s director of health services, R.L. Sarita said, “We are staring at a massive health crisis. There’s a shortage of medicines and health professionals to tackle the situation.”

Sarita also revealed that more than 40,000 people are suffering from high fever in the tourist hotspot and that the government is planning to set up emergency medical camps in school and temples.

The experts believe that the stagnant water left behind after torrential rains is contributing to the spread of dengue in the state. However, the authorities have claimed that they are trying to prevent breeding of mosquitoes by insecticide fogging.

Sources: NDTV, Reuters

Sun Pharma, NIV collaborate to fight chikungunya and dengue

National Institute of Virology (NIV) and domestic pharma giant Sun Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday, June 27, signed an agreement to test new medicines developed by the company to battle zika, chikungunya and dengue.

According to Livemint, under this agreement, Sun Pharma will supply drug molecules to NIV for testing against the three diseases in model systems, the company said in a statement. The new molecules could be built on phytopharmaceutical (plant-based), biologic and chemical elements.

Candidate molecules with positive data will further be taken for commercial development, the company statement said. Kirti Ganokar, Sun Pharma executive Vice President and head of Global Business Development mentioned it was a part of the company’s broader commitment towards development of new and advanced vaccines and drugs against arboviruses that are important to India and the world, reported Financial Express.

Ganokar said,’’ Our decision to partner with NIV was made following extensive due diligence and consultations on existing programs globally.” Devendra Mourya, Director, NIC revealed that chikungunya and dengue are serious public health issues in India, similar to those in tropical and subtropical countries. Recently, the rapid spread of Zika virus across the world has added to the list of threats of Aedes borne infections. He added, “Unfortunately, no effective antivirals and vaccines are available for these infections yet. Our agreement with Sun Pharma aims to find a solution to these unmet needs.”

Livemint reported that the company said that this agreement aims to promote discovery sciences, translational health research and development of medical products, which is in sync with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Sources: Livemint, Financial Express

 

Chikungunya, dengue epidemic in the capital ; death toll rises to 30

The capital is under the cloud of diseases such as chikungunya and dengue over the past few weeks. With over 12,000 cases across the country, New Delhi has been the worst hit with death toll rising to 30 and 2,800 suffering.

The two vector borne diseases are fatally affecting the people over the age of 60 as they are more vulnerable to multiple organ failure during the affected period. Dengue, unlike chikungunya can itself cause death rather than organs failing to function. The endemic which started at the during August as a result of heavy rainfall has already affected wide range of population in different parts of New Delhi.

It is vital to know about the causes, symptoms and preventive measures that can be adopted to secure oneself.

Causes

Dengue

Transmitted through the bite of female Aedes mosquito, the dengue can be also be spread through blood transfusion from one human body to another. They prey during the night.

Chikungunya

The disease primarily affects the muscle cells of the body and is caused by the same female mosquito as the Aedes.

 

Treatment

Being viral diseases, there is no prescribed or immediate treatment for dengue and chikungunya.

“The treatment for dengue and chikungunya is symptomatic and therefore, doctors wait for the symptoms to become evident in the body,” says Dr Dalal, a gastroenterologist at Primus Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.

Paracetamol is provided to the affected patients after three days for the fever to subside and subsequently the patients are asked to consume more fluids.

 

Prevention

To put it in simple terms, Dr. Dalal says, “Avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes,” justifying it as there no vaccination or medication that can prevent a certain disease. Cover yourself and apply mosquito repellent creams. As the mosquitos thrive of fresh water, make sure there is no stagnant or affected water lying around.

 

Measures adopted by the Delhi Government

Although receiving a lot of criticism for being unable to tackle the chikungunya, dengue outbreak in the capital, the Aam Aadmi Party is putting in their best efforts to meet the demands of patients and doctors. With 1,000 extra beds in all government hospitals for the affected patients, the Delhi government has asked all the hospitals in the capital to reserve 10 percent of the beds for chikungunya and dengue cases.

“In the meeting, I demanded reservation of 10 per cent beds at all Centre-run hospitals including AIIMS, RML and Safdurjung for treatment of dengue and chikungunya patients.” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said after his meeting Union Health Minister J P Nadda.

Arvind Kejriwal has also requested to set up fever clinics across Delhi so that people can be clarified about their disease before they get themselves admitted to the hospitals. He has also asked other state governments to set up the same as lack of good medical facilities is extending the pressure on Delhi Hospitals. Apart from this, Kejriwal has ordered to buy as many fogging machines required and also asked for cooperation from centre and different political parties in these testing times when the capital is ailing under the intense threat of dengue and chikungunya.

 

Sources: Indian Express, NDTV, PTI

Sri Lanka wins the war against malaria

In a breakthrough achievement, the World Health Organisation on Monday declared Sri Lanka as malaria-free, thus, making it the second country in the region to eradicate malaria after Maldives.

From being termed as the worst-affected country by malaria 60 years ago to now being declared as a malaria-free nation, Sri Lanka has definitely come a long way in terms of tackling the menace of mosquito-borne diseases, and the WHO has rightly called it a “remarkable public health achievement.”

However, the road to eliminating malaria was not easy for Sri Lanka. It was achieved through sustained efforts from the side of the government as well as the communities concerned, coupled with well-calibrated policies.

How did Sri Lanka eradicate malaria?

Sri Lanka’s strong public health system is definitely one of the key reasons for this breakthrough. Health workers were properly trained to deal with malaria-related cases and the early diagnosis and swift treatment by these health workers with special focus on high-risk areas helped in decreasing the number of malaria-related deaths significantly. Additionally, an efficient sanitation system along with other methods that lowered mosquito breeding supplemented the strong health care system that was in place.

Talking about the various unconventional steps that were taken under the Anti-malaria Campaign designed by the health ministry, the web-based surveillance system was one of the most effective strategies. All fever cases were tested for malaria and each case was reported under the AMC. The officials kept a close watch on tourists, immigrants, pilgrims, armed forces on peace keeping missions etc.

Rationing of medicines was another step that was taken in the direction of providing affordable health care facilities to patients affected by malaria. All the malaria-related medicines were kept with AMC, forcing the private sector hospitals to notify all such cases with the health ministry.

Further, the government ran a 24*7 hotline for patients in isolation to stop the possibility of further transmission. Through the hotline, the patients were tracked and treated, which helped in bringing down malaria cases to a great extent.

Apart from all the above mentioned efforts, one of the major reasons for this feat was the fact that the AMC, in early 1990s, moved from a mosquito-control strategy to parasite-control strategy. Ever since, the malaria cases in the country saw a steady decline.

The relentless grass roots level community engagement cannot be ignored while talking about the Sri Lankan success story. No public health policy can work without the constant engagement of the citizens concerned. And in the case of Sri Lanka, due to better awareness and successful health education, citizens did not wait until it was too late and also played a role in the fruitful implementation of the health policies.

What can India learn from its neighbour?

Sri Lanka’s achievement comes at a time when different states of India are grappling with an upsurge of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya.

Various aspects of the AMC can be adopted in the Indian context to develop a proper surveillance system for the deadly disease. The private hospitals in the country should be asked to record all malaria-related cases with the health ministry, which can then devise a target-based approach to fight the infection.

Further, the central government and the respective state governments should also focus on providing more social, financial and technical support for facilitating the eradication process.

For a country that receives four times as much rainfall than India, the process of eliminating malaria was an uphill task. Yet, the island nation rose to the challenge, giving various other countries a much-needed reality check and inspiration. With more than thousand people dying due to Malaria every year, the Sri Lankan story can teach India a lesson or two in terms of combating the mosquito menace.

Sources: TOI ,  The Guardian

West Bengal Fighting its toughest battle this year

Kolkata, 31st August 2016: The deadliest fever of the season has grasped the city of Kolkata again this year. Claiming more and more lives every day the city’s civic bodies are facing a huge challenge to bring the situation under control.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had issued instructions to remove the stagnant water in urban areas as one of the preventive measures. However, the situation on ground in many cities doesn’t substantiate the claims.

Moving on from the city from the suburbs the situations are even worse. Lack of proper sanitation management coupled with improper medical facilities have become a challenge for the state to deal with the degrading situation. Adding to the already worrisome situation the 312 new dengue cases reported this week has heightened the panic for the city.

The common people have raised questions about the lack of proper medical facilities available in the suburbs of Kolkata, not only leading to more numbers of death but also this is why the patients are travelling to the city hospitals to get the proper medical facilities and thus causing a huge crowd in the city hospitals. Some of the hospitals do not even have the required number of beds. Even there are hardly any hospitals which have any separate rooms or cabins available to keep the malign and benign dengue patients separately. “My mother has been diagnosed with benign dengue, but the hospital authorities has said that due to lack of beds and unavailability of separate cabins, she has been shifted to the bed next to a patient who has been diagnosed with malign dengue, this is a cause of worry for us as this can affect my mother’s health as well,” said, Ritwika Mondal,resident of Shibpur.

Added to this the unavailability of medicines for the patients is another phase of struggle which the city is fighting this year. With the administration not doing enough to bring the situation under control the medicinal conditions of the hospitals are getting worse each passing day. Accompanied by this, the scarcity of blood in the blood banks has boosted the situation to become more tough challenge to tackle.

Recently the city has also witnessed the worst cases of blood transfusion in many private hospitals. Some of these have even led to the death of the patients and this has triggered the fear of the disease more into the people’s mind.

The state administration is ultimately fighting its toughest battle this year to save the life of its people. Most of the areas near the hospitals are also not well maintained in terms of garbage and other waste disposals. The civic bodies are claiming that they are doing enough to bring the situation under control. However, the city and people await for improvement in the situation.

Source: Indian Express Times of India