The rising number of dengue cases in Tamil Nadu has gotten health officials concerned. In an effort to tackle the increase in these numbers, the state health department has announced that ‘Dengue Prevention Day’ will be observed every week in all government hospitals in the state.
“We have been given instructions to conduct cleaning drives wherein groups of people will have to go around the hospital premises and remove all trash and waste lying around. The idea is to ensure that there is no source for mosquitoes to breed,” explains Dr Jayanthi, dean of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.
An inauguration ceremony was held at the hospital on Thursday to ensure that the awareness campaign will reach more people.
“All cement tanks and drums should be washed thoroughly with bleaching powder every week by the housekeeping staff of the institutions. Unclean premises and premises with Aedes larval breeding warrant legal action under the TN Public Health Act 1939. Legal notices would be served on the owners and custodians of such premises,” reads a circular issued by the state Health Department to all government hospitals.
Officials will be turning to the Indian Medical Association to ensure that this practice is adopted in private hospital campuses as well.
A total of 3,400 dengue cases have been reported in the state since the beginning of the year, and three deaths due to the disease have been reported in this time as well. Officials have also stated that more cases will be seen and reported before the monsoon season comes to an end, and have stated that anywhere upto 4,500 cases are expected to be seen by the end of the year.
All government hospitals are being set up to ensure that they can handle the influx of cases. Separate fever wards, intensive care unit wards (ICU) and step down wards (additional wards) have been implemented.
As part of the campaign, sensitization and prevention measures will be taught to all hospital housekeeping staff to ensure that the environment remains clean. This will also help reduce the mosquito population. Health department officials have stated that one of the main goals of the campaign is to make people more aware about taking steps towards mosquito population control.
Dengue fever is caused by one of five strains of the dengue virus. The virus is transmitted to humans via the bite of an Aedes aegypti mosquito. Someone who has been infected with the virus will usually begin showing symptoms between 3 to 5 days after exposure to the virus. The most common symptoms of dengue are high-grade fever, joint pain, muscle pain and general fatigue. Treatment is largely based on giving supportive measures to control the symptoms an individual may be showing, as there is no vaccine against the virus.
Officials have also stated that taking precautionary measures can help prevent dengue fever. Using mosquito repellant, coils and sprays help reduce the chance of being bitten by a mosquito. In addition installing nets on the windows and doors and using mosquito nets around the house can also have a significant impact on preventing dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.