GHMC health department has belatedly swung into action, desperately trying to do what it can to keep communicable diseases at bay during the world conference.
Dates fixed, tickets confirmed, hotel rooms booked but sickly air? This happens to be the biggest priority on the check-list of the international delegates who would be landing in Hyderabad end of this month.
With less than two weeks for the red carpet to roll out for the world delegates, the outbreak of swine flu and dengue fever has become a major cause of worry for GHMC health officials. According to the State government records, so far, 633 positive cases of vector-borne diseases have been registered in the State; in private hospitals, more than 1,000 cases are being treated. Not just dengue fever but H1N1 (swine flu) cases have also been registered. Eight more cases of swine flu have been reported in a week’s time.
With air-borne diseases floating about, what will be the outcome if 4,000-5,000 world delegates congregate here, is a question nagging many. “Yes, this is indeed a cause for concern. We are alarmed and have asked the GHMC health and sanitation department to beef up preventive measures for the convention,”said chairman of the Biodiversity board, R Hampaiah.
So far, 19 swine flu deaths have been reported and for dengue, the number is unclear. The government confirms only three deaths but unofficial records say the death toll has crossed 25 so far. As compared to last year, the rise in this malady is 40 per cent, which is pretty high to tame. “True, there has been an increase and a sudden spurt of the disease. One of the main reasons is unhealthy conditions and dampness in the surroundings. There is no vaccine for dengue fever and one has to be careful. So far, only four deaths have taken place and the situation is under control,” said Dr Daruru Ranganath, superintendent, Niloufer Hospital.
Swine flu has vaccines, but these are still in the testing phase, Dr Vijay Varma, a general physician, said. For dengue, there is no vaccine; the disease will resolve by itself, hence precaution is the only way to prevent both these diseases, he added.
The GHMC health and sanitation wing is also on high alert and is now taking special interest, but it is a bit late in the day. “We have started anti-larval operations on a weekly basis for CoP hotspots. Places where dengue cases have been registered are subjected to thermal fogging programme. Also, we are creating awareness through the media on preventive measures,” said C Ratna Joseph, the GHMC chief entomologist.
A special 60-member team has been appointed at the convention center to conduct indoor spraying as a precautionary measure.
“Visitors who are coming from other countries should be extra cautious. They should use mosquito repellents, wash their hands as often as they can. In any case of doubt, they should contact a doctor immediately and people who have come in contact with them should also get a check up,” said Dr Aftab Ahmed, general physician, Apollo Hospital.
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