Dengue dread: Kerala Health Department sounds red alert on second attacks

The department is concerned that, while the state may see a significant drop in dengue cases, the death rate may climb.
Dengue (AP file Image for representation )
Dengue (AP file Image for representation )

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With another monsoon season round the corner, the Health Department has found itself in a Catch-22 situation. The department is concerned that, while the state may see a significant drop in dengue cases, the death rate may climb. The department feels an emergency situation may unfold if those tested positive for dengue in the previous year gets affected with the disease again. A disconcerting revelation is that 42 per cent of children in Thiruvananthapuram district alone were once tested positive for dengue. “This is an alarming situation.

If people are tested positive again, it may lead to a complicated situation. We are not sure how their bodies will respond. This time, we are expecting fewer number of affected cases and a marginal increase in the death rate,” said an officer with the Health Department. The Health Department shared fears of such a possibility during a meeting attended by a World Health Organisation (WHO) team from Geneva, South East Region Office and India Country Office at Hotel Hycinth here on Thursday. While stating the state’s northern belt, especially Kannur, Kasargod and Wayanad, has started reporting dengue cases, officials said the outbreak of dengue in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is a matter of concern.

Meanwhile, sources said dengue-related intervention in the state is set to get a fillip as the WHO team, which held discussions with Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan, shared their inputs on various intervention and control mechanisms being followed by other countries to check dengue outbreak. “Some interventions, including vector trap, were pitched during the meeting. An in-principle decision is there to incorporate the said suggestions in the ongoing ‘Government of Kerala- WHO Dengue Study 2017-18’,” said the source.

P S Indu, of the Department of Community Medicine, said the inclusion of the control component in the study will be advantageous for the state as it had focused only on source reduction in the past. At the same time, it is learnt the implementation of the said suggestions involves additional financial resources. The state government may weigh the possibility of approaching the WHO itself for sanctioning more funds for carrying out the activities.

Pat from WHO team

The three-member WHO team which visited the state on Thursday to assess the progress of the first-ever dengue seroprevalence collaborative study appreciated the Health Department for its dengue control strategy. According to Reena K J, additional director of Health Services, Public Health, WHO, lauded the state for its dengue prevention campaigns.

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