THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An interim report of the first-ever dengue seroprevalence collaborative study being carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the state government is in the offing by June. As part of preparing the report and for assessing the progress of the study, a team from WHO will pay a visit to the state during the third week of April. The study, that aims to chalk out policy decisions to address the possibility of a dengue outbreak in the future and for finding reasons behind the outbreak in 2017, is being coordinated by the Department of Community Medicine, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
“The study on dengue seroprevalence is halfway through. We were informed that in order to review the progress of the study, a team from WHO will visit the state in the third week of April. The report that will be released in June will include data on school-based surveillance studies among 9 to 12-year-olds and vector studies in localities,” said PS Indu of the Department of Community Medicine.
It was in December a year-long study titled ‘Government of Kerala- WHO Dengue Study 2017-18’ was launched in the state. Other than WHO and the Health Department, various agencies like Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology (RGCB), Vector Control Research Center (VCRC), State Public Health Lab and departments like Local Self-government and General Education are associated with the study.
“Other than these agencies and departments, wings like microbiology, pediatrics and infectious diseases were part of this study. In the second phase, we will focus on studying dengue affected patients so as to study the pattern of the disease. The priority will be to find those factors which can be identified at the earliest so that we can address complications in the future,” added Indu.
Meanwhile, the Health Department said though the study is collaborative, the entire cost of the project is being borne by the WHO. The government is playing the role of a coordinator as it unites various departments and agencies to carry out the study.Earlier, Union Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda had said in the Lok Sabha that dengue is spreading in various parts of the country and its transmission is governed by many ecological factors. According to the Minister, in addition to the same, unplanned developmental activities, improper water storage, population movement, improper solid waste management and others also play a crucial role in the outbreak. The minister also stated though dengue fever in normal condition is known to be a self-limiting viral disease, in certain clinical conditions, few cases may have severe manifestations or complications, for which such patients need to be closely monitored requiring hospitalisation.
During the dengue outbreak in 2017, the state witnessed 19,973 cases and 37 deaths. In 2016 it was 7,439 cases and 13 deaths, and in 2015 it was 4,075 cases and 25 deaths. As per the statistics with Union Health Ministry, the number of dengue cases reported from the state till January 28 is 145.