Infectious diseases go up, experts warn against lowering ‘SMS’ guard

Lack of hygiene is primary reason for the spread of contagious diseases, say health experts

Published: 01st July 2022 04:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2022 04:04 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: ‘SMS’ – Soap (handwashing), Mask and Social Distancing – was the oft-told remedy to prevent Covid from spreading. The lowering of guard is blamed not only for the rise in Covid cases, but also for a host of other infectious diseases in the state.  Health experts have pointed out that lack of hygiene is primarily responsible for spread of infectious diseases such as Shigella and Norovirus, and people have not learnt much from the lessons during the pandemic.

Shigella, a bacterial infection, led to the death of a 16-year-old girl and hospitalisation of several others in Kasaragod just a month ago. The previous attack was in Kozhikode in December 2020.The state also recorded its first outbreak of Norovirus in June 2021. A year later it made its presence felt in the state again. Both the infections are characterised by diarrhoea, stomach pain and nausea. Health experts have warned of similar attacks if people fail to inculcate personal hygiene.

Along with personal hygiene,  food hygiene is also important to keep such diseases under check.“Instances of Shigella and Norovirus show that people have not even learnt how to wash hands properly. We have learnt about hand washing during Covid. But the presence of infectious diseases shows that we are not following it properly,” said Dr B Ekbal, a public health expert and head of the expert panel advising the state government on Covid.

“We have a long way to go in terms of hygiene. It should be made part of  lifestyle,” he added. Dr Amar Fettle, state nodal officer for adolescent health and H1N1, emphasised the role of teachers in inculcating general health habits.

“Norovirus is highly contagious even with a small presence of the virus. The use of liquid soap shall be encouraged to ensure proper hand hygiene,” he said.The state chapter of Indian Academy of Pediatrics has been conducting classes in anganwadis and schools on the techniques of hand washing. It warned that lack of hygiene and improper handling of food will attract infectious diseases.

“We have been promoting hand hygiene through children’s health clubs. It is important that soap should cover all areas of the hand during the wash. Food handlers also need to maintain hygiene to prevent chances of infection,” said Dr Johnny Sebastian, state secretary of Indian Academy of Pediatrics.


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