CHENNAI: First the good news for people living in coastal districts: the rains would bring down dengue cases in the State. Now the bad news: rainwater stagnation and drinking water contamination could possibly spread diarrhoea and other fever cases, say health experts.
Dengue cases would have come down because all the larva would have been washed away in the rainwater. Now the new challenge for officials is the prevention of diarrhoea and other fever cases.
So, the state Public Health Department now shifts its focus from dengue prevention measures to monitoring of water contamination to prevent outbreak of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases even as the coastal districts are being pounded by heavy rains for the past one week. It may be noted that dengue has so far claimed 52 lives in the state and affected over 16,000 people from January to October.
“It’s true we have got relief from dengue as of now. Now, we have shifted our focus to monitoring water contamination to prevent diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases outbreak. We are now focusing on water chlorination in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts,” said Dr K Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health.
However, he said, this is only a breathing period. “Only the larva of the aedes mosquitoes would have been washed out. But, the eggs laid on the wall of the unused containers will be there. New mosquitoes will be born from these eggs, once the rains stop. So, it’s important to remove all unused containers lying around the houses or other establishments.”
Though this comes as a good news for people, health experts say people should take precautionary measures to avoid falling a prey to other water-borne diseases. “People should not step into stagnating water with bare feet. Even if they do, they should wash their feet properly to protect them from leptospirosis or rat fever,” said Dr C Rajendran, a senior general physician at Billroth Hospital and retired professor of Medicine, Madras Medical College.
People should consume only boiled water and stop eating unsafe food outside because unsafe food will lead to typhoid. This is the season for jaundice as well. People should take care of themselves, said Dr Ragunanthan, professor of medicine, Madras Medical College.
Kolandaswamy also said people can report any water contamination or fever cases to 104 and also can contact the Public Health Department helpline numbers: 044-2435 0496/ 2433 4811/ 94443 40496/ 93614 82899 for assistance.
How to prevent diarrhoea, fever this monsoon
- Should drink only boiled water/ chlorinated water
- Frequent hand washing with soap a must
- If diarrhoea or fever cases are reported, people should immediately go to nearest health camp or government hospital
- For any such complaints, people can call the helpline numbers mentioned
- People are requested to report if they happen to see any private tanker lorries supplying drinking water to the houses or other establishments because unsafe water is not recommended
- Should use bleaching powder around stagnating water and around the houses.
- Also, control flies around the houses, keep the surrounding free from garbage.
- If any dead animals are spotted, report to the Chennai Corporation immediately and spray bleaching powder.
- Keep underground sumps, overhead tanks or other water storage barrels clean and disinfect with bleaching powder
Source: Directorate of Public Health