CHENNAI: While the government has been pooling all its resources to tackle the Covid crisis, the onset of seasonal endemics such as dengue and malaria is threatening to put a dent in the combat measures. With residents of Old Washermenpet, Tondiarpet, Royapuram and Kodambakkam, among other areas, complaining of mosquito menace escalating, the city corporation has transferred all 3,500 domestic breeding checkers from Covid duty to vector control work.
A doctor, in-charge of a fever camp in zone 5 Royapuram, said that they recorded at least five dengue cases in the area in the past one week. The biggest worry for health staff on the ground is that the symptoms for Covid-19 is very similar to those of dengue or malaria. “The symptoms are overlapping and there is high risk of wrong diagnoses,” Infectious Diseases Specialist at Gleneagles Global Hospital Dr Subramanian Swaminathan said.
Dr Swaminathan added that apart from the diagnosis issue, the vector-borne illnesses would further burden the hospitals. “Dengue or malaria patients could be treated as outpatients and the hospital beds could be reserved for Covid patients.” Identifying respiration-related symptoms is the key to differentiating between Covid and dengue cases, Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr Vijayalakshmi B of Kauvery Hospital said.
“Currently, the city is getting a breather with the number of cases coming down. We have to take all precautionary measures to prevent dengue and other seasonal infections exacerbate the situation. Everyone should make sure that water is not allowed to stagnate anywhere in their neighbourhoods,” she added.