Poor sanitation a major reason for the dengue crisis : The Tribune India

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Poor sanitation a major reason for the dengue crisis

JALANDHAR: With as many as 261 people having been tested positive for dengue in the district and five deaths having been reported until yesterday, the dengue numbers at this moment look like these are all set to surpass the last year’s toll which was the highest compared to the past four years.

Poor sanitation a major reason for the dengue crisis

A team of the Health Department holds a medical camp at Nandanpur village near Jalandhar on Saturday. A Tribune photograph



Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 1

With as many as 261 people having been tested positive for dengue in the district and five deaths having been reported until yesterday, the dengue numbers at this moment look like these are all set to surpass the last year’s toll which was the highest compared to the past four years.

While until the mid of August, the health authorities were almost patting their back on what seemed like a year of reduced dengue vases, the sudden rise in the reportage of dengue in the city has played a spoilsport for them.

While the drives, awareness camps, team surveillance as well as the dry day measures of the health department - the last along with the MC – were visibly more intense measures compared to the previous years, despite all these efforts, the still steady climb in the dengue numbers is just an initial indication of the extent of the vulnerability of the district.

City leads in dengue cases

While of the 246 positive dengue cases reported until Thursday in the district, as many as 213 were urban, the rest were from villages. The cases from the periphery included 15 from Kartarpur, seven from Jamsher, four from Mehatpur, Kala Bakra, Shahkot and Bara Pind (two each), Adampur (one). Of the additional 15 cases which came out positive yesterday, too, a majority were from the rural areas.

Backward areas battle lack of sanitation

With a majority of dengue cases being reported from areas which have insanitary conditions and stagnant water (last year’s areas with outbreaks also display similar patterns), it is clear that along with medical surveillance, better sanitation is the prime need to keep diseases at bay in the city which is in line to be one of the chosen smart cities of the country.

While the dengue mosquito breeds in clear water, sources in the health and MC departments said it couldn’t be denied that the breeding of mosquitoes in a given area already was a contributing factor to the outbreaks.

Despite the accumulation of water being the prime enemy in the breeding of these mosquitoes in the “season”, the collective inability of residents, MC, panchayats and health departments to keep sensitive areas dry, was among the key reasons for the situation getting out of hand in the district yet again.

Assistant Health Officer, MC Jalandhar, Kishan Sharma, said, “We have challaned as many as 239 establishments in the dry day drives held in the city so far. As far as the sewage ponds and the various areas of the district are concerned, the MC has been successful in dissolving six to seven garbage points in the district, some of which have also been beautified with the help of NGOs. However, a lot of work is also on agenda. To keep areas dry and garbage-free, residents have to stop dumping sewage and garbage wastes irresponsibly. We have challenged people even up to 10,000 for littering clean spots, but in many areas people dump wastes in the night.”

Relief for Nandanpur – health dept holds camp

Meanwhile, a day after the villagers of Nanandanpur village alleged apathy on part of the authorities and health teams in paying heed to the woes of the villagers, health teams today held a camp at the village. As many as 148 patients were reported at the medical camp today, of whom 41 were fever patients and as many as 10 serious patients were referred to the hospital. Dr Uditt, medical officer, Maqsudan, held a medical camp at Nadanpur village today. Anti-larvae teams also conducted spraying across spots in the village. The four patients who displayed dengue symptoms were also referred for further investigation. So far no chikungunya patient has been reported from the area.

Patients allege duping, misreporting by labs

Amdist spurt in dengue cases, some patients have also reported that labs had been duping them. Deepak Rana, who heads the Shan Foundation, alleged, “A patient’s platelet count was shown as 40,000 in one of the labs, while tests from the very next lab revealed his count was to be 2 lakh. Hapless patients are being duped in the name of dengue stats, as for labs it has been a profitable proposition.” Meanwhile, with a complaint regarding this also having made to the health department, sources say such a patient shall have to approach court or the consumer forum, since it wasn’t under the health department’s jurisdiction to act against labs.

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