More rain, more fever: Peak in dengue, encephalitis, swine flu across India

The Gorakhpur tragedy has swung attention to the whole range of afflictions we lump together as viral fever. Every year, most states witness a spike in fevers during the monsoon months.

Published: 19th August 2017 11:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2017 11:54 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

The Gorakhpur tragedy has swung attention to the whole range of afflictions we lump together as viral fever. Every year, most states witness a spike in fevers during the monsoon months. 

Rise in viral fever cases gives Bengaluru the chills

BENGALURU: Though there is usually a dip in numbers of viral fever cases by the end of June, the numbers are only rising even now. This is due to the continuing spells of rains, according to doctors in Bengaluru.

The number of dengue, chikungunya and H1N1 cases are far more than last year. They constitute most of the viral fever cases that are attended to, the doctors added.

Dr K T Padmaja, Deputy Medical Superintendent, ESIC, Rajajinagar said, “With spells of rain on and off, the breeding of mosquitoes has continued and hence the rising numbers. It is mostly self limiting. However, in case a patient develops secondary infections, they are given antibiotics,” she said. She added that it is usually between April and July that the numbers peak while there is another spell in October. Each day, the hospital sees at least 25 new cases of viral fever.

According to the Health and Family Welfare Department, last year, there were only 110 confirmed cases of H1N1 in the state. In 2017 however, the number is as high as 2,860. As against zero deaths last year, 15 have been reported in 2017. As many as 1,279 cases of chikungunya have been reported in the state.

Similar is the case with dengue. Data compiled by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike in association with private hospitals, reveals that there were more than 3,000 cases in the city alone. The Health Department has said that 5,128 dengue cases have been reported across the city and five deaths were confirmed. However, sources in the department confirmed that these figures were only the tip of the iceberg as there are cases of improper reporting.

Fogging in process. (Express Photo | Nagaraj Godekal)

Sources said several information, education and communication activities were held in the last three months to educate people on control of mosquito breeding and ensure there is no stagnant water. BBMP has been fogging those areas from where cases are frequently being reported.


Worst season of illness in Kerala as 13.80 lakh cases of fevers reported

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has just had its worst fever season in the last two and a half months. There have been as many as 13.80 lakh cases of various fevers, including dengue and H1N1. July was the worst month,  with 100 suspected and nine confirmed dengue deaths. There were 695,517 dengue cases in July, up from 502,371 in June. 

August has seen a slowdown of fever cases and deaths, but the situation is still not under control. As per the latest report of the Directorate of Health Services, there have been seven fever-related deaths (20 suspected), in addition to four mortalities due to leptospirosis and two each due to dengue and H1N1 so far this month. 

The state government claims it is doing all that it can to curb the spread of fevers. In the ongoing Assembly session, health minister KK Shylaja said timely intervention managed to control the epidemic. The opposition, however, is not convinced, and is demanding declaration of a health emergency in the state. As part of measures to contain the spread, the government has conducted mass cleaning drives across the state and activated health workers and volunteers.

(June-August 11) 

Reported cases: 1380245
Deaths: 63
Suspected cases: 41163
Confirmed: 10989
Suspected deaths: 180 
Confirmed deaths: 11
Confirmed cases: 309
Deaths: 1 
Suspected cases: 23
Confirmed cases: 17
Suspected cases: 709
Confirmed: 241
Deaths: 35
Confirmed cases: 677
Deaths: 38
Hepatitis A
Suspected cases: 525
Confirmed: 440
Deaths: 23
Chicken pox
Reported cases: 3791
Deaths: 3  


Odisha government blames consumption of cassia seeds for encephalitis outbreak

ODISHA: Monsoon fevers are de rigueur in Odisha. While swine flu and dengue are spreading in the urban areas, the tribal hinterland has been beset with outbreaks of encephalitis since 2012. Though no Japanese Encephalitis (JE) mortalities have been registered as yet in the official records, 473 acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) cases have been diagnosed so far. Odisha stands fifth in AES mortality after Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Bihar.

A child being treated for Japanese encephalitis. (Express Photo)

According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, AES had taken 13 lives by the first week of August. Apart from AES, eight persons have fallen victim to swine flu in Odisha in the last two weeks. More than 100 positive cases have been detected. Dengue is the other scourge in the state: two deaths and 367 positive cases.

Both AES and JE have been regular visitations in Odisha since 2012. Last year, the state grabbed the national headlines when 115 children died of AES and 42 fell to JE. Most of the deaths were reported from Malkangiri district.

But the state government has been equivocating on the incidence of AES. It went to the extent of claiming that consumption of seeds of a plant called Cassia occidentalis, locally known as Bada Chakunda, caused death of a third of the children who fell to encephalitis in Malkangiri district.

An expert committee suggested that JE could not be blamed for all the deaths because “encephalopathy” was the culprit. Encephalopathy, it said, is a non-infectious biochemical syndrome that can be aggravated by the consumption of Cassia seeds. The fact is the Naveen Patnaik government remained aloof to the spread of AES, which is caused by a vector-borne virus hosted by pigs.

The Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar, carried out a study on the outbreak of AES in Malkangiri in 2015 but its findings were not paid heed to. From 38 deaths in 2012 to 115 in 2016, the AES surge was waiting to happen.


After drought, fevers of the first rains in Tamil Nadu

Fever cases in 2017

Dengue 6515

Japanese encephalitis  22

Malaria 62

Chikungunya 44

Last year, 2,531 cases of dengue and five deaths were reported in Tamil Nadu, as per Vector Diseases Control Programme data. This year, till August 6, there have been 5,968 dengue cases recorded and one death.

Kerala’s dengue epidemic is spilling over into Tamil Nadu, with districts bordering that state reporting high incidence of the mosquito-borne disease this year. Thus Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari and Namakkal are all witnessing dengue surges. Chennai too has been buffeted by the dengue outbreak in Nellore-Tirupati belt in Andhra Pradesh.

Director of public health Dr K Kolandaswamy says that while swine flu, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and dengue are the main concerns in the northern states, in Tamil Nadu it is dengue that is keeping the health officials busy. Other than dengue, there have been sporadic cases of other fevers such as leptospirosis, typhoid and malaria in Tamil Nadu this year.

Representational image.

As the southwest monsoon brought the first spells of rain, dengue arrivals spurted in the state’s hospitals. The outbreak is keeping district health officials on their toes. Nagercoil, for instance has handled 512 dengue positive cases so far this year, 94 so far this month. Dr Madhusoodhanan, joint director of medical services said July was particularly desperate as fever cases streamed in after the first rains. In one 24-hour period over a Saturday, 150 fever cases were admitted and teams were dispatched to check stagnation points for mosquito breeding.

The drought in rural Tamil Nadu is a major factor aggravating dengue in Tamil Nadu this year, with people storing water to tide over the shortage. The dengue vector Aedes aegyptii mosquito breeds in stagnant water.

The first rains trigger a surge in fevers, and with dengue rearing its head in the south, doctors are alert when patients come in with symptoms of fever, body ache and headaches. Dr G Anitha, the dean of MGMGH in Tiruchy, said that as many as 110 fever cases were being treated at MGMGH last Sunday, of which 15 patients from Tiruchy, Pudukkottai, and Perambalur districts turned out to be dengue positive. The previous week had seen 88 fever cases.


Swine flu quietly creeping up on Telangana state

HYDERABAD: Of all the southern states, Telangana is relatively less affected by seasonal fevers this year. That’s probably because the monsoon has not been very intense this year.

As Adilabad district medical and health officer K Balu says, “Compared to the past five years, viral fevers this year are under control. This year, not a single death has been reported so far due to seasonal diseases in this district.”

Swine flu: Prevention is better than cure. (Express Photo)

But nevertheless, fevers are always a cause of concern in the tribal belt. Dr Koti Reddy, the area hospital superintendent at Bhadrachalam, said he’s been seeing more malaria and typhoid cases among out-patients this year.

The administration is alert to the spread of swine flu, especially after one death and two positive cases in Wanaparthy district.

Swine flu cases had previously been reported from Hyderabad, but its spread to other parts has surprised officials.

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