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Malaria spreads, Sukna joins war

Sukna, Nov. 8: Even as the Darjeeling district health authorities try to grapple with the outbreak of malaria in the Naxalbari block, the spread of the disease to the neighbouring blocks has gone largely unreported.

In fact, the situation in the Sukna block is equally alarming with the local block hospital receiving malaria patients every day.

About 80 per cent of the 130-odd outdoor patients who visit Sukna Block Hospital on a given day are suspected malaria cases. At present, the 15-bed hospital has nine malaria patients, of whom seven were diagnosed as P.falciparum positive, the parasite that causes the fatal malignant malaria.

'Even Sukna proper (about 10 km from here) has reported two or three malaria cases,' said S.K. Murmur, the local block medical officer of health (BMOH).

He, however, hastened to add that the situation was still under control, and with the approaching winter coupled with the intensive preventive measures being carried out in the block, things will hopefully get better.

Most malaria cases in the block have been reported from Dudhia, Garidhura, Simulbari and other areas bordering the Naxalbari block. 'The number of cases, however, has come down since the Pujas. During that time, we were forced to accommodate three patients in one bed,' said the on-duty nurse at the block hospital.

The block hospital received a special blood testing kit only yesterday. The hospital has two DGHC-appointed technicians. The entire Sukna area falls under the DGHC.

'Hitherto, we had been conducting the test microscopically. Most malaria cases have come from the plains while the Hills are largely free from the disease,' said Murmur.

Totopara affected

Six persons, including five infants, have died in the Totopara-Ballalguri area of the Dooars from an unknown fever, possibly malaria, in the past 10 days, reports our Jaigaon correspondent.

The deaths have prompted the district administration to take up vector-control measures like spraying DDT in the area. This morning, Chimri Toto, the wife of former gram panchayat pradhan Muktaram Toto, died after suffering from high fever and stomach cramps. Bhusan Chakrabarty, the chief medical officer of health of Jalpaiguri, said the malaria situation in Totopara was not alarming.

'Till yesterday 1,229 blood samples from Totos have been examined and 202 of them are suffering from P.falciparum or malignant malaria. We have distributed 75 kits for spot detection of malignant malaria,' he said.

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