High dengue deaths in Kerala because state keeps better records, says expert

Recently, Kerala faced a backlash in national media over the increasing number of dengue deaths, as per the statistics made available from all the states.

Published: 23rd October 2017 01:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd October 2017 10:28 AM   |  A+A-

Dr Camilla Rodrigues

Express News Service

KOCHI: Recently, Kerala faced a backlash in national media over the increasing number of dengue deaths, as per the statistics made available from all the states. The figures had dealt a blow to Kerala which prides itself as the number one state in the country’s healthcare sector. But, according to Dr Camilla Rodrigues, consultant microbiologist in P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, and an expert in infectious diseases, the picture painted of the state is far from the truth.

“Kerala is doing way better than most other Indian states as far as infectious diseases are concerned. If the statistics show a large number of dengue deaths here, it is because Kerala has a well-documented healthcare system than other states. Infectious diseases claim many more lives outside the state but go undocumented,” Dr Rodrigues told Express. She was in Kochi to attend a workshop on ‘Criticare’ organised by the Medical Trust Hospital.

She says the current numbers can be effectively reduced only if municipalities and corporations start planning at least from April for  monsoon season, when the onslaught of diseases is seen. “There is also the problem of identifying the causative factors. Each disease is caused by a different kind of mosquito which survives on entirely different habitats. People should be aware of each of the situation to stop the mosquitoes before they breed. For example, very few people know there are mosquitoes that breed in clean water,” she says. “People have a tendency to use the same drug prescribed by a doctor for a similar illness or to a different person, not knowing it won’t have any effect on them or worse, may affect them negatively if the bacteria in them modifies the antibiotic.

Better awareness among people is necessary. There are patients who go clinic to clinic for an antibiotic prescription,” she says.Paediatricians are more organised when it comes to using antibiotics. General physicians will get there soon now that a lot of awareness classes are going on. However, we need a legislation on the use of antibiotics on cattle and vegetables,” she said.

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