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Sunday, September 19, 2021

‘Haunts me that I lost my son’: Firozabad struggles with ‘dengue’

Doctors said lack of cleanliness is the primary reason for the rapid spread of the dengue cases.

Written by Amil Bhatnagar | Firozabad |
September 2, 2021 2:25:11 am
The fever has claimed more than 40 lives in the district, including 32 children. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

EVERY SECOND home in Firozabad’s Sudama Nagar has been affected by the viral fever – suspected to be dengue – that has claimed more than 40 lives in the district over the past one week, according to residents of the locality. At least four of the 32 children who have died of the fever are from this locality, said officials, making it the one of the worst-affected areas in the town.

One of the four children was six-year-old Krishna.

He caught high fever on August 23 and was taken to a nursing home and later to a hospital in Agra. The fever did not break for two or three days, making him weak. A couple of days later, Krishna died.

“He had fever and it kept rising. We got him admitted [to hospital] and were told there was an issue with platelets. Krishna kept getting weaker and could not make it. It haunts me that I have lost my son,” his father Pushpendra Kumar Yadav told The Indian Express.

“Officials are saying there is a dengue outbreak. This entire area is full of open sewers. If sanitation is an issue, there is no doubt this area needs a lot of work,” Yadav said.

The locality has a sewer drain running perpendicular to its entry point. About 100 metre inside the locality, there is a large open dumping ground with heaps of garbage and pools of muck.

Doctors said lack of cleanliness is the primary reason for the rapid spread of the dengue cases.

People in the locality, largely occupied by workers engaged in factories and glass workshops, alleged that sanitation teams started coming in only after Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath’s visit on Monday when he gave instructions to carry out cleaning in the affected areas.

Many said life was getting back to normal slowly after the second wave of Covid when the fever began gripping the young ones at home. “I run a momo stall and it was very difficult during the lockdown. We thought the worst was over but my 12-year-old niece died of the fever,” said Ram Prakash. “My brother is a daily wage labourer and currently he is trying to take care of his other daughter who was also admitted in hospital after showing symptoms.”

“He will not be able to work for a while and he has no savings. These are tough times for us,” he said.

On Tuesday, the death toll in Firozabad crossed 40 with the death of another child at the government hospital. On Wednesday, the state government transferred Chief Medical Officer of the district Dr Neeta Kulshrestha.

Altogether, 230 children are currently undergoing treatment in the pediatrics section of the government hospital here.

An 11-member ICMR team, which conducted testing of medical samples from the hospital, has ruled out any link of the fever with Covid. An extra team of doctors is also being sent to assist in treatment, said an official.

“We have many teams working and monitoring the situation. So far, the illnesses suggest a dengue pattern as many have tested positive for it. Currently, there is no data to suggest any other infection,” said Firozabad District Magistrate Chandra Vijay Singh, who carried out an inspection of the hospital.

“There is a robust platelet donation system which has been set up. In terms of prevention, local people have told us about cleanliness problems in some areas. The local authorities have been tasked to carry out intensive spraying and cleaning of the affected areas.”

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