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Woman succumbs to killer malaria

Post-monsoon malaria cases are on an upswing in the city since last week. With the death of Sandhya Roychaudhury, 45, a Sonagachhi resident, at Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI) on Friday, the death toll stands at four this year. Last year, the toll was 25.

Local MLA Sudhanshu Sil said more than a dozen men and women of the area have been afflicted with malaria. He alleged a lack of preventive action by the civic health department.

Despite repeated reminders, the civic health department has been reluctant to undertake an anti-larva operation in the area, he claimed. “The area deserves special care, since it has a steady stream of ‘visitors’ every day,” Sil added.

Officer on special duty (health) Atanu Mukherjee said malignant malarial parasites were found in Sandhya Roychaudhury’s blood sample in the first week of October and the parasite count was nil by October 6, after treatment at the CMRI.

She was admitted to the hospital with complaints of headache, diabetes and kidney failure and her blood urea count was unusually high, at 140. However, in her death certificate, the cause of death had been put down as ‘respiratory failure in a case of multi-organ failure in a case of malignant malaria’.

Mukherjee claimed the malignant malaria-causing parasite, plasmodium falciparum, was not even one-third rampant as last year. In September 2002, the total number of malignant malaria patients was 908. This year, only 311 people have been detected with the disease.

Delay in detecting malignant malaria and a lack of awareness among private practitioners turned malaria fatal, he warned.

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