Flu-like cases spark concern in containment zones

As seasonal illnesses including ILI and vector-borne diseases are spreading, residents are rushing for Covid-19 tests

Published: 26th June 2020 07:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2020 07:15 AM   |  A+A-

coronavirus testing

For representational purposes (File photo | PTI)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The spike in the number of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) cases in Covid-19 containment zones in Thiruvananthapuram is becoming a major challenge for health authorities. Panic is spreading among the residents of the containment zones where health workers are already struggling to contain the pandemic, as other seasonal illnesses including ILI, vector-borne diseases and fever are spreading.The district collector declared Kalady Junction, Attukal, Manacaud Junction, Chiramukku-Kalady Road and Iranimuttom as containment zones on June 19, after a local Covid-19 positive case was reported and the source was deemed untraceable. 

According to the health official, samples of 92 people with ILI symptoms were collected from Attukal ward in the past four days. The results are yet to come, and this is building stress among local residents.Attukal ward councillor Beena R C said that the residents are in a state of panic. “Everyone is apprehensive of catching the infection, as the health authorities are still tracing the source of infection of the autorickshaw driver who tested Covid-19 positive recently. Even for minor throat ache, people insist on Covid-19 screening. They call me multiple times a day asking for the lab results.

The results of samples sent four days back are yet to come,” said Beena. “Misinformation being spread by the media is also an issue. Recently, a newspaper reported two new Covid-19 positive cases here. Reading that, people got scared and started making panic calls, asking me the location and whereabouts of the positive cases. When I inquired, the news was wrong and none of the lab results were positive,” said Beena. 

She added that Attukal ward is generally considered as a hotspot as most cases of dengue and chikungunya are reported from there every year. “It is because of the waterlogging issue and poor drainage. All we can do is step up mosquito eradication and source reduction activities which we are currently undertaking,” she added. Similar events unfolded in Manacaud ward, which is also a containment zone. 

“People are apprehensive. ASHA workers and field staff are contacting these families. But some refuse to even let them in their homes out of fear. The entire ward is shut down and only a few families are even willing to venture out,” said Simi Jyothish, Manacaud ward councillor.  According to a senior health official, it’s a good sign that people are taking the initiative to get tested for Covid-19. “Authorities should make use of this situation and carry out as many swab tests as possible. This would help analyse if there is community spread,” said the official.

More people get tested in containment zones
Ever since the case was reported, authorities have collected samples from around 300 people belonging to containment zones as part of the contact tracing and sentinel surveillance . Only 36 results had reportedly come till Wednesday. According to experts, only one out of 1000 ILI cases could become Covid-19 positive. “There are two type of trends. Those living in containment zones are becoming more conscious and seeking medical intervention even for minor ailments.
On the other hand, those outside the zones are hesitant to go to a hospital and deal with the symptoms at home. So it is natural that more cases are coming from the containment zones,” said the official.  An official of the District Medical Office (DMO) said that two mobile teams have been deployed in the containment zones for swab sample collection and efforts are on to speed up lab results. In June, three leptospirosis deaths and 82 confirmed leptospirosis cases were reported in the district. Also, 28 dengue cases were reported in the district in June.


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