Chennai: With the northeast monsoon yet to set in, eight cases of dengue fever have already been confirmed at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) in the city. The Department of Health and Family Welfare says they are taking adequate steps to prevent the spread of the disease by setting up special camps and has ordered government hospitals to give immediate treatment.
A total of 60 people have been admitted to the RGGGH with fever and eight people have tested positive for dengue, all between the ages of 20 and 40, says Dr R. Jayanthi, Dean, RGGH. “Although a dengue outbreak happens every year, this year we have cases before the rain itself. The GH, however, is prepared with proper medication, we have allocated a separate ward for both men and women for dengue, and our blood bank is well-equipped to deal with it,” assures Dr Jayanthi.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Dr K. Kolandaswamy Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine confirmed the prevalence of dengue in the state and said that a review meeting was conducted on Tuesday to take stock of the situation. “We have deployed around 21,000 field workers on the ground all over the state. There are a few cases in pockets, especially in Coimbatore, Kanyakumari and surrounding areas. We are taking intensive control measures to control it,” he said.
A rapid response team has been deployed to go from street to street and create awareness of the fever. “Door-to-door checks are also being held,” he said adding that the team will also be prepared to kill the larvae of Aedes mosquito that spreads dengue, zika and chikungunya. A minimum of 50-60 houses will be covered by a single worker every day,” he added.
The number of dengue cases reported has come down in comparison to 2017, says Dr Kolundaswamy. “Over 22,000 incidences were reported in 2017 with 63 deaths, however, this year, since January we have received only 2,200 cases, with no deaths reported. Given these numbers, it is evident that we are taking enough control measures to keep the fever at bay,” he said.
Several precautions can be taken to prevent contracting the disease, says Dr Jayanthi. The first measure to control an outbreak is to keep your surroundings dry and clean, preventing mosquitoes from breeding. She also recommends consuming lots of fluids like coconut water, buttermilk and a light diet. Parents should ensure young children wear full-sleeved clothes and regular checks for breeding mosquitoes are done in the surrounding areas of their residence, especially after rain.
“However, one does not need to panic, if they contract the fever”, the doctor says. “Almost 99 per cent patients recover with supportive care. Very few people require a blood transfusion.” However, people, especially parents of children, should look out for symptoms such as high fever, severe headache and muscle pain.