|The paediatrics ward of Tata Motors Hospital, where Ranjit and Manisha were admitted, and (under) another child under treatment at MGM Medical College and Hospital. Pictures by Animesh Sengupta
Three cerebral malaria deaths in East Singhbhum in 48 hours have put the district health department on toes.
Ranjit Kumar a Class IX student of Vig English School and resident of Gobindpur, 15km from Jamshedpur succumbed to the vector-borne disease on Sunday night. His sister Manisha Kumari, a student of Graduate School College for Women, died on Monday evening.
Tata Motors Hospital has sent a report to the Integrated Diseases Surveillance Programme (IDSP) office, confirming the cause of both deaths as cerebral malaria.
In the third case, four-year-old Shailen Tuddu of Galudih in Ghatshila, 40km from the city, died on Monday night. MGM Medical College and Hospital too confirmed cerebral malaria.
The sudden developments prompted deputy commissioner Himani Pande to chair a meeting at the district collectorate on Tuesday afternoon and issue strict orders to district malaria officer L.B.P. Singh to check the scourge.
Singh has floated two helplines and instructed all the 104 multi-purpose health workers to write their names and numbers on every wall on the outskirts of the steel city. DDT is also being distributed in affected areas.
Singh said the helpline numbers 0657-2317223 and 0657-2317222 would be operational from 10am to 5pm and anyone could call with details of symptoms and location.
We will send our team of multi-purpose workers and malaria technical supervisors for slide tests to confirm malaria. Arrangements for proper treatment will also be made at the nearest health centre, he added.
Till Tuesday, the IDSP office in East Singhbhum had reported 11 malaria positive cases from Tata Motors Hospital and four from MGM Medical College and Hospital.
Cerebral malaria is critical form of malaria. Symptoms range from fever, muscle pain, headache and low blood pressure to convulsion, other neurological abnormalities and even coma that can last up to three days at a stretch.
Other common signs are mild jaundice, anaemia, enlargement of liver and spleen, kidney failure, blood in urine, delirium, seizures, and one-sided paralysis.
To prevent the disease from spreading, health officials advise use of mosquito repellents, nets and clothing that cover most of the body, besides spraying DDT and not allowing water to remain stagnant.