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Drive against sting diseases

May 4: The Kamrup (metro) health services have sped up preventive measures in the district as the monsoon nears and the chances of outbreak of vector-borne diseases increase.

However, no case of vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and Japanese encephalitis has been detected this year so far.

Since the outbreak is more common in slum areas, the health department is focusing on creating awareness on their prevention among the residents here.

“Though no case of malaria, dengue or Japanese encephalitis has been detected so far this year, we are taking necessary preventive measures in all the disease-prone areas, especially the slums in the district. Surveillance activities have also been intensified in areas on the outskirts of the city like Panikhaiti and Sonapur, where vector-borne diseases are detected every year,” said Bhola Koch, joint director of Kamrup (metro) district.

“Our health workers like the auxiliary nurses and midwives and accredited social health activists (ASHAs) are also carrying out awareness drives to educate people residing in such areas on ways to prevent these diseases by taking precautions,” said Koch.

In 2011, a total of 29 cases of acute encephalitic syndrome (AES) were detected in Kamrup (metro), of which 18 were confirmed as Japanese encephalitis.

The total number of cases related to malaria detected in the district is, however, unavailable. But no case of dengue was detected last year here.

The surveillance activities also include door-to-door sample collection of sick individuals by health workers.

“Since continuous fever is one of the first signs of malaria, dengue as well as Japanese encephalitis, our health workers have been instructed to closely monitor any case of fever particularly in the high-risk disease-prone areas.

These workers will make door-to-door visits in those areas, enquiring about any incidence of persistent fever. On finding any such case, they will collect the blood samples of the ailing individuals and send those for tests. In case of malaria, they are able to test blood samples through the rapid diagnosis kit,” said Koch.

On a few filarial cases detected this year, a health official said, “The few filaria cases that have been detected this year are not new ones but old cases in which the disease has progressed resulting in limb oedema in patients. Limb oedema is a condition triggered by filaria where there is swelling in the leg. The patients are currently under treatment.”

However, surveillance activities being conducted by the district health department do not include fogging and spraying of DDT as these activities are carried out only when cases of malaria, dengue or Japanese encephalitis are detected in an area, said the official.