Grappling with an outbreak of cerebral malaria and diarrhoea, the East Singhbhum district administration is pulling out all the stops to stave off a deathly dengue scourge from neighbouring Calcutta, where the disease has claimed 12 lives this monsoon.
As a pre-emptive measure, it has directed authorities at Tatanagar railway station and Sonari Airport to identify passengers with symptoms of the fatal disease, besides malaria, quarantine them for tests in special medical camps on the spot and inform the additional chief medical officer (ACMO) without delay.
The decisions were taken at a late afternoon meeting chaired by deputy commissioner Himani Pande at the district collectorate on Thursday.
ACMO Swarn Singh said they had rushed letters to both Tatanagar and Sonari authorities. “We have asked them to isolate passengers complaining of high fever and nausea at medical camps on the spot. Blood samples will be collected and sent to MGM Medical College and Hospital for MAC-ELISA test ,” he said, adding that railway and airport authorities had been asked to step up awareness too.
So far, only four cases of dengue have been detected in East Singhbhum. But, since the disease claimed lives last year the district authorities are not taking chances.
Singh said the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carried the dengue virus, could sting an ailing passenger from Calcutta and bite a healthy person in Jamshedpur and infect him.
While dengue is yet to become endemic here, cerebral malaria has claimed eight and diarrhoea five. More than 1,500 are suffering from malaria at various hospitals too.
The spurt in diseases has led to a platelet crunch at Jamshedpur Blood Bank. The administration has asked the Indian Red Cross Society to help in conducting blood camps.
“Around 15 camps will be carried out every month in the steel city because at least five units of blood is needed for every unit of platelet, which also have a short lifespan of three days,” said Vijay Singh, a senior functionary of Indian Red Cross Society.
What else can be done to prevent a dengue outbreak?