Even though the number of fever cases in the state is showing signs of decline compared to the beginning of monsoon, public health experts continue to keep their vigil, especially for any unusual rise in the incidence of dengue.
“The number of fever-afflicted has declined but we cannot say that the threat of dengue is over. We can only say it has reduced,” Additional Director of Health Services Pradeep Kumar said.
It may be recalled that a month ago, the total number of fever-afflicted persons in the state ranged between 20,000 to 23,000 or more per day, with as many as 700 to 830 being admitted in hospitals on a daily basis. Now, the number of fever cases have come down to less than 15,000 per day with the daily hospital admissions hovering around the 500-mark. The number of dengue cases have come down from as many as 180 to 200 confirmed cases per day in June to less than a hundred per day. On July 20, the total number of dengue cases reported in the state was just 56 of which a majority of 31 cases were from Thiruvananthapuram alone.
Though the rest of the state reported only 25 cases, the medical community had not lowered its guard. “When there is heavy rain, everything gets washed out. When the intensity of the rain comes down, small puddles become the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. So when the rain stops we might have another spurt in dengue cases,” said Sairu Philip, faculty member of the community Medicine Department of the Alappuzha Medical College. Sairu said that Kerala had now reported the presence of all four subtypes of the dengue virus and there is every chance of a re-emergence of dengue in the days to come.
“We expect an increase in the number of cases and we are well prepared for that. Alappuzha is notorious for infectious diseases. This might be a reason why we have to work extra hard in the field, readying ourselves for the battle,” she said.
While Alappuzha is getting ready to combat the viruses, Kottayam district has been reporting cholera cases for a few days now, especially in the Ettumanoor and Athirampuzha areas. On July 20, there were two confirmed cholera cases from Ettumanoor. While Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Malaria, Typhoid and Chicken pox are being reported regularly from across the state, Pradeepkumar said this was nothing to be worried about. “The numbers are almost the same during this season every year. Even leptospirosis cases are much lower than what was reported last year,” he said.
Meanwhile there was one death suspected to be due to leptospirosis from Palakkad on July 20. Public health experts warned that if dengue strikes again, children in the 0-15 age group might be the worst affected.
“Environmental sanitation has a major role to play in the health of the people. Continuous surveillance and preventive action should help us prevent the diseases,” Sairu Philip said.