Kerala floods: Focus turns to diseases; authorities on the alert

Doctors have arrived from across the state, and from outside, to deal with the huge task at hand. Shortage, however, is of nurses and cleaning staff.

Published: 20th August 2018 11:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th August 2018 11:04 PM   |  A+A-

An Indian Coast Guard chopper engaged in the rescue ops in flood-ravaged Kerala. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

KOCHI: Given the high number of people moved to relief camps, a few cases of diseases have reared their heads in the Aluva region. While instances of fever and isolated cases of diarrhoea are the ones mainly reported, the health sector has stepped up vigil to keep communicable diseases and other waterborne diseases at bay.

Doctors have arrived from across the state, and from outside, to deal with the huge task at hand. Shortage, however, is of nurses and cleaning staff.

Ernakulam DMO N K Kuttappan said, "The cases of fever didn't originate at the camp. The affected people had the disease before they were moved to the camp. We detected it during the health checkups in the camp and they were quarantined. That apart, it is mainly common cold that has affected most of the camp inmates. The aged have complained of pain in the joints and cramps due to the continuous exposure to water and the wet weather.

Dialysis and chemotherapy

Many patients undergoing long-term treatments like dialysis and chemotherapy are also among the flood survivors now in various camps.

"The government and the Health Department have a detailed order on this issue," said Dr Kuttappan.

"The number of such patients will be collected from each camp. Many are on medication for dialysis, hypertension and stroke, medicines for all of which will be made available at the camps. In the case of dialysis, there are six dialysis facilities for the Health Department in the state. All these facilities will work extra shifts to ensure all are able to access them. There is an increased load on these units as some private hospitals have shut down their units following flooding on their ground floors. Those in the camps will be taken to these units for dialysis and then brought back."

The Aluva Taluk Hospital has conducted dialysis for the flood survivors.

"We have 26 machines and we do the dialysis in two shifts," said Dr Prasanna Shajan, superintendent, Aluva Taluk Hospital.

Beware of rat fever

Chances of rat fever have not been ruled out while the chances of water-borne diseases remain high.

"The survivors may have come in contact with water at some point and the contamination in the water is high," said Dr Kuttappan.

"So, essential preventive medicines will be given to all inmates of the camps and those in houses. People involved in rescue work should also take these medicines. While we have some stock with us, more are on the way and will be brought according to need. We are stocking doxycycline now."

He said it takes time for an outbreak to occur and people will be moved to their houses before that.

"By using clean water and cleaning the surroundings, we can deal with all these diseases. Also, there is a chance of jaundice affliction, which can also be dealt with efficiently. We will work closely with local self-government bodies to ensure this. The coordinators will manage the cleaning process as per advice from various sources," he said.

Medicines to cover everything

The Ernakulam District Panchayat has decided to provide the required medicines in the district.

"As a first phase, we will provide medicines worth Rs 25 lakh. These will cover everything from medicine for blood pressure to preventive medicines," said District Panchayat chairperson Asha Sanil.


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