The Telegraph
Friday , December 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drive to check black fever from today

Siliguri, Dec. 13: The Darjeeling district health department will tomorrow start an intensive black fever eradication programme in Phansidewa block where the disease affects 40 people on an average every year.

Black fever is a vector-borne disease spread by the sand fly and Phansidewa is the most-affected block in the district because of the presence of a large number of mud houses whose crevices are the breeding ground of the insect.

The eradication drive will kick off with a three-day sensitisation programme starting tomorrow. B. Sathapathy, the director of health services, will inaugurate the programme.

“Black fever is mostly prevalent in Phansidewa block of the district and there are reports of as many as 40 to 45 cases of the disease there every year. This year, 45 cases of black fever were reported from the area. The district health department will start an intensive sensitisation drive on the prevention and cure of the disease in Phansidewa block from tomorrow. The event will be inaugurated by B. Sathapathy, the director of health services from Swasthya Bhawan,” Subir Bhowmik, the chief medical officer of health of Darjeeling, said today.

Phansidewa is 25km from Siliguri.

He said houses made of mud were responsible for the higher prevalence of black fever in the block.

“Black fever is a vector-borne disease and one can catch it if he or she is bitten by a sand fly. The insect breeds in humid atmosphere of cracks and crevices which develop on the walls and floors of mud houses. Phansidewa has a good number of mud houses providing suitable environment for the sand flies to breed,” said the health official.

The health employees will conduct door-to-door visits in the block and sensitise the people to the precautions against the fever.

“We have carried out a survey before and identified the houses where people have been affected by the disease. If anybody is found to be ailing from the disease, they will be provided with oral medication immediately. The symptoms of the disease are fever, weight loss, fatigue, mucosal ulcer and anaemia,” said the CMOH.

Bhowmik said at least 200 houses would be covered by the drive in the three days.

“Although we had conducted smaller awareness programmes earlier, this will be more intensive. We plan to visit at least 200 houses in three days and will see if there are cracks on the walls and floors. If crevices are found, they will be immediately covered with cement. The families will be advised to do the same if they detect any cracks in the house in future. There will be a follow-up to the three-day drive with inspections in every one or two months to check if the families are taking the precautions and get themselves treated for the disease.”