A health worker collects blood sample from a patient in Sijua, Dhanbad, on Sunday. Picture by Gautam Dey
Five persons from Tata Steel’s colliery area in Dhanbad tested positive for dengue on Sunday and have been rushed to Jamshedpur for treatment.
The victims, aged between 16 and 40, are residents of Bhelatand in Baghmara block, 20km from the district headquarters, where 75 overhead and abandoned water tanks turned breeding grounds for the Aedes larvae following Phailin-induced cyclonic rain during Durga Puja.
General manager of Tata Steel’s Jharia division Sanjay Singh confirmed the dengue cases.
“Blood samples were taken from 11 ailing persons who are colliery employees and their dependants. Five were found to have contracted the disease. They were referred to Tata Main Hospital (TMH) last evening,” he said, adding that the company’s health wing had swung into action to curb an outbreak.
“We have dismantled the concrete tanks where the mosquito larvae were found. Fogging is being carried out at Adarsh Colony (the affected pocket in Bhelatand colliery area). A team of five doctors from Sijua and health workers is camping in the colony. A specialist in preventive medicine from Jamadoba-based Tata Central Hospital is paying visits to monitor the situation,” Singh elaborated arrangements to control the dengue threat.
District malaria control officer G.C. Verma said besides the fogging machine of Tata Steel, which is already in use, a second would be launched soon to step up the vector war. Further, a mobile medical van of Tata Steel Rural Development Society is touring adjoining villages to collect blood samples of people showing symptoms of the disease.
S.M. Zafarullah, the in-charge of the community health centre in Baghmara, said that after the Aedes larvae were found in the tanks, they started sprinkling bleaching powder and spraying DDT in the area.
“More than 200 people were tested in makeshift camps. No one else was found to be carrying the dengue viruses, which cause breakbone fever and the more serious dengue haemorrhaging fever. A majority was only suffering from plain viral fever,” Zafarullah said.
While an ambulance provided by the Marwari Yuva Manch has been pressed into service, NS I antigen test kits are available at the community health centre.
The senior health official appealed to people not to panic.
“The monsoon is over and within a fortnight the Aedes will not have favourable atmosphere for growth. So, do not panic. Just stay vigilant and report to health workers if you manifest any symptom,” Zafarullah said.
He maintained that the cyclonic rain during Durga Puja had filled up the abandoned water tanks and ditches. “The winter sun will purge the infection. Do not worry,” he added.