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8 jawans down with malaria

Malda, May 3: Eight jawans of the railway protection special force have been diagnosed with malignant malaria and kept isolated in a ward of a hospital here.

While five jawans were admitted to the isolated ward specially set up at the Malda railway hospital on Saturday, three were brought there this afternoon. Doctors said plasmodium falcipparum parasite, responsible for malignant malaria, has been detected in their blood.

Each of them is being kept under mosquito nets and no one is being allowed to visit them at the hospital. Blood samples of the affected jawans have been sent to Delhi for further investigation.

One company of the force, comprising 110 personnel, was on way to Jangipur in Murshidabad after completing poll duty at Islampur. Earlier, the force had been deployed in Assam for a month.

The jawans said they had been suffering from throat sore and high fever after returning from the neighbouring state.

“Even then, we had performed the poll duty in Islampur. But while leaving for Jangipur, our condition deteriorated,” said Sudarshan Kumar, one of them. “For the past seven days, we have been suffering from severe headache, coughing, throat sore and weakness.”

Kundan Kumar Singh, Suraj Prasad Mahato, Pradip P.C. and Manoj Punia are the others who were hospitalised on Saturday.

The chief medical officer of the hospital, D. Sarkar, said the district administration and the Englishbazar Municipality were alerted after the malaria parasite was detected in the jawans’ blood. The condition of three of the jawans was serious.

“The disease is highly infectious and it spreads very fast. Any delay in treatment may prove fatal. The jawans were in a malaria-prone area of Assam. Many more in the company may have been affected by the disease,” Sarkar said. “The company commander has been alerted.”

The chief medical officer, of the hospital claimed that the parasite had not been found in Malda, but it might spread among the local people from the affected jawans.

The Election Commission has been informed about the disease.

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