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Officials fear malaria outbreak

Jamshedpur, April 5: Five villages in Khutpani block of West Singhbhum district have been declared cerebral malaria epidemic zone following detection of about 50 confirmed cases in just three months.

The state health department constituted a special medical team, including three civil surgeons and two experts of Tata Main Hospital, today to check the Khutpani block which is under the home constituency of chief minister Arjun Munda.

A senior member of the medical team said in the past three days, there have been 50 confirmed cases of cerebral malaria reported from the area. The team also received reports of two deaths from Tungi village in the last week.

Among the badly-hit villages are Tungi, Tanti, Gundi and some areas close to Pandrasali, the medical team confirmed.

'The team after examining about 200 patients found that 50 of them were suffering from cerebral malaria. The findings were also confirmed by pathological reports. We have advised the patients' family to immediately admit them to the Chaibasa subdivisional hospital,' said a member.

The disease spreads very fast and one confirmed case is an indication enough of at least 10 more carriers, the member added. Taking this into consideration, the team suspects that at least 500 more patients with sub-clinical symptoms may be found in the area.

East Singhbhum civil surgeon Shiv Shankar Birua, who was also heading the special team, said malaria is prevalent in the state and assured outbreak of cerebral malaria epidemic is nothing to be worried about.

'The disease spread due to lack of awareness. During their check-up, most of the patients admitted that they initially ignored the symptoms of frequent fever and headache. If they had visited the health centres at the right time, then it would have been possible for the medical team to bring the situation under control,' said Birua. The department was well-equipped with medicine and expertise to control the disease within one week, he said. The district health department has already been asked to spray DDT. The West Singhbhum civil surgeon has also been asked to set up drug distribution centres in the villages so that the patients with malaria symptoms can get the treatment at an early stage.

The district administration has already alerted the Tata Main Hospital to be prepared for handling the patients.

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