‘Dengue cases set to rise, don’t go by dipping figures’, says Dr Subhash Salunkhe

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, head of the state communicable diseases prevention committee, says health authorities and civic body should not be complacent

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published: July 7, 2016 9:17 am
dengue, dengue disease, dengue causes, deaths, dengue in india, india dengue, pune, pune doctor, dengue cases, health news, latest news, india news Doctors are seeing an increase in the number of patients with viral infection and chikungunya-like symptoms in the city. (Source: Express Photo)

FROM A whopping 9,190 dengue cases in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Pune Rural in 2014, the number has come down to 351 this year. Health authorities have not registered a single dengue death this year while 20 deaths were recorded in 2014. However, Dr Subhash Salunkhe, head of the state communicable diseases prevention committee, is quick to add that with the onset of monsoon, cases of dengue are bound to rise and one can’t be complacent in tackling the situation.

“There will be an increase in the vector population of aedes aegypti with water accumulation. Breeding sites are likely to rise and hence, the civic body and health authorities cannot be complacent. Citizens also must take precautions at their homes to prevent dengue,” Salunkhe who is also the former Director General of Health Services, Maharashtra told The Indian Express.

There were as many as 26 dengue outbreaks in 2014 and the number has come down to five this year. Due to water scarcity, there have also been sporadic cases of dengue ahead of monsoon, admits Dr Bhagwan Pawar, District Health Officer. For instance, there were few dengue cases registered at Phursungi and Uttamnagar this year, he said.

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Now, with the onset of monsoon, cases are likely to rise and as part of monsoon preparedness, we have set up round-the-clock disease monitoring cells where the officer makes random calls at several locations to monitor the fever situation, Pawar said. In 2015, there were 16 dengue outbreaks, a total of 5,634 cases of dengue and two deaths, he pointed out. Pune city had 118 cases of dengue this year while Pimpri Chinchwad had 163 cases. Pune rural areas had registered 70 cases of dengue, Pawar said.

Dr Kanchan Jagtap, Joint Director of Health, said that this year across the state there have been only two dengue deaths and a total of 1,063 dengue cases. However, the peak season is during the month of September and hence, there has to be a careful watch from July to September, she said. According to Dr H H Chavan, Deputy Director, Pune circle, the health department is geared up for monsoon preparedness.

Docs: Viral fever cases up, chikungunya-like fever in city
It may be the start of monsoon but doctors across the city are seeing an increase in the number of patients with viral infection and chikungunya-like fever cases.

“I have started seeing patients with high grade fever who test negative for dengue, but when a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is done the patient tests positive for chikungunya. The symptoms are high grade fever and severe joint pain,” Gadia said.

According to Dr Vivek Billampelli, there has been a surge in the number of cases related to viral infection. “At Kondhwa also there are several patient with high fever and severe joint and body pain – which seem like chikungunya,” he said.

Dr Avinash Bhondwe, Vice President of Indian Medical Association, Maharashtra pointed out that there has been a three fold rise in the number of patients with respiratory and viral infections.

Water-borne disease outbreaks likely
Even as Pune district registered over 600 cases of diarrhoea last year, the drought situation this year may lead to outbreaks of jaundice. Dr Subash Salunke, who chairs the state communicable diseases prevention committee, urged gram panchayats and municipal councils to take urgent preventive steps to ensure that there is no contamination of water. “There has been no free flowing water from taps for several months. The civic authorities should ensure there is no water leakage and piped water supply is not contaminated,” Salunkhe said.

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