A nine-year-old boy from Howrah’s Pilkhana died of dengue on Wednesday, a day when the civic administration, which was blaming residents for the rise in dengue numbers, had changed tack and decided to involve councillors in the fight against the disease.
The boy, who died at AMRI Hospitals Mukundapur around 3.13am, “expired of refractory shock caused by severe dengue”, said an official of the hospital.
He was suffering from high fever for more than a week and was being treated at a hospital near his home till he was shifted to AMRI around 8.45pm on Tuesday.
The boy suffered a cardiac arrest in the Emergency department of the Mukundapur hospital.
“He was taken to the paediatric ICU, where he was ventilated. Despite several attempts to revive him, the patient succumbed to refractory shock caused by severe dengue,” said the official.
A senior official of the state health department said 956 dengue cases were reported from across West Bengal on Wednesday.
In Kolkata, all councillors were asked on Wednesday to accompany vector-control teams in the drive to locate and destroy mosquito-breeding grounds. A councillor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) said he received a call from the mayor’s office on Wednesday asking him to accompany vector-control teams and conduct awareness programmes.
Another councillor said this was the first time he received such a call this year.
Earlier, the mayor and the deputy mayor had appealed to the councillors to join the fight against dengue, but the gravity of a phone call from the mayor’s office is different.
A councillor’s presence during vector-control drives increases the impact as many people, who would otherwise not take such a team seriously, agree to cooperate with the civic personnel.
A councillor can also take instant decisions or call a few officials to get things done faster or convince the residents of a house to open its doors for vector-control work.
KMC officials often allege that many apartment blocks do not allow their two-member teams to enter their premises. A councillor’s presence can change the attitude of the residents’ associations.
The district magistrate of North 24-Parganas held a dengue review meeting with the councillors of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and South Dum Dum Municipality on Wednesday to take stock of the vector-control measures being adopted by them to keep the mosquito-borne disease in check.
Many residents across Kolkata, Salt Lake and Howrah have alleged that visits by vector-control teams to their neighbourhoods have been irregular this year.
On Tuesday, the West Bengal government’s chief secretary held a meeting with senior officials of the KMC and the district administrations of Howrah, Hooghly and North 24-Parganas about the dengue situation.
A steady number of dengue cases are being reported regularly from the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) area, including Salt Lake, Baguiati, Kestopur and parts of Rajarhat.
The situation is similar in neighbouring areas such as Lake Town, Bangur, Nagerbazar and parts of Dum Dum, which are under South Dum Dum Municipality.
Sharad Dwivedi, district magistrate of North 24-Parganas, told the councillors to maintain strict vigil over spraying of larvicide and cleanliness drives, and visit their wards regularly to verify the reports they get from teams on the ground.
“All councillors must make mandatory field visits across their wards and ensure that proper vector-control measures are being taken. We must be extremely careful in dealing with this disease,” Dwivedi said on Wednesday.
The district magistrate also told the councillors to prevent accumulation of solid waste.
According to Dwivedi, more such meetings are scheduled with representatives of urban local bodies that are reporting a high number of dengue cases, including Baranagar and Madhyamgram municipalities.