Even as the state has stepped up preventive measures to avert outbreaks of water and vector-borne diseases, health officials admit that special focus is being given to Kolhapur, which saw the highest number of dengue deaths last year.
Last year, there were 11,000 cases of dengue in the state, with 67 deaths. Kolhapur had the highest number of dengue cases (1,400) and deaths (13) in the state. “This year too, before the July-August floods, there were more than 250 dengue cases and two deaths in Kolhapur,” Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer told The Indian Express.
This year up till July 21, the state has registered more than 1,700 cases and two deaths. With flood waters receding, the state health department has issued strict instructions to civic health officials on vector control measures. The next eight to ten days, post rain, will be the period of breeding of adult mosquitoes. To ensure that breeding sites are destroyed, the state health department has encouraged local health officials to initiate immediate anit-larval measures.
Dr Yogesh Sale, district health officer at Kolhapur, said 250 villages have been affected and they have already started taking up anti-larval measures. “Presently, there are fever and diarrhoea cases and we have had regular meetings with the state health department,” he said, adding that as per guidelines, one multi-purpose health worker will cater to a population of 1,000 and take stock of their health issues.
Meanwhile, to ensure safe and clean drinking water, the state has supplied over a crore chlorine tablets across households in flood affected Kolhapur and Sangli. Chlorine is a widely used water disinfectant. These water purification tablets can be used for treating drinking water as well as for washing fruit and vegetables, said health officials. Under the National Health Mission, Rs 10,000 is allotted to village-level health and sanitation committees to keep their surroundings clean. “Dusting of malathion insecticide as a measure to prevent dengue is also under way,” Dr Awate said.
He also pointed out that people were also being examined for leptospirosis, which is a bacterial disease where one can be infected after coming in contact with the urine of infected animals such as rats, mice and cattle. “People have been wading through rainwater, which can increase the likeliness of them contracting this disease, which can happen by broken skin and mucous membrane (eyes, nose, sinuses, mouth) coming in contact with contaminated water or soil. For this reason, categories of patients have been chalked out from among flood-affected people — people who are at low risk, medium risk, and high risk of contracting the disease,” said Dr Awate.