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Blood tests for malaria

Calcutta, April 4: The state government today ordered mass blood sampling in malaria-pr one areas following the detec-tion of malarial parasite in people without any apparent symptoms.

Health services director Prabhakar Chatterjee said at Writers’ Buildings that he had ordered mass blood tests in Kalchini, Falakata and Nagrakata in north Bengal and parts of Bankura, Purulia and Midnapore Sadar areas.

The health department has said it will carry out another survey simultaneously to draw up a comprehensive list of malaria-prone areas.

About 3,000 blood samples were examined two weeks ago in Nagrakata, of which 35 tested positive for the dreaded plasmodium falciparum parasite. Most of the blood samples that tested positive were taken from people without any symptoms of malaria.

“We are very worried about this. People who did not have a shivering fever or any other uneasiness tested positive. We have realised that health officials combating malaria in the identified areas will have to increase their surveillance in areas prone to the disease. We have instructed that all blood samples in the malaria-prone areas must be tested so that a clearer picture emerges,” Chatterjee said.

He visited north Bengal on March 26 and asked the hospital authorities of Nagrakata to be on the alert, particularly during the peak mosquito breeding season between June and October, and carry out blood tests periodically.

Chatterjee said he would also take up the matter with the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and discuss whether such a mass blood test programme can be organised in the malaria-prone areas of the city and its adjoining areas.

He said on April 9 senior health officials would attend a meeting organised by the government of India on malaria in Guwahati and inform it about the developments in Bengal.

Cell separator machine installed: Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra today inaugurated a highly sophisticated cell separator machine at the Central Blood Bank in the city. Chatterjee said this machine would help take out only the component of the blood needed from the donor. “For example, if white cells are required, the machine will have to be fitted to the donor’s blood vessels. Through one vessel the blood will enter the machine where the white blood cell will be separated and the rest of the blood will flow back into the donor through the other’” he explained.

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