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19 Sep 2019, Edition - 1528, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Declare Dengue epidemic as public health emergency: Expert

Covai Post Network

Tamil Nadu is unable to cope with Dengue epidemic that has officially claimed forty lives since January this year.

On Wednesday, reports of 12 deaths due to dengue came from across Tamil Nadu, which has seen a spurt in the number of cases, crossing the 11500 mark. At the last count, there were 11,744 cases and counting, according to government figures.

Chief minister Edapaddi Palanisami held a review meeting where the preparations to fight the dreaded disease were discussed with senior health department officials.

Private health activists put the death toll much higher, at more than double of what the government attributes to the dreaded disease spread by Aedes female mosquito.

S Elango, former director health and Indian Public Health Association, TN chapter chief puts the figure at over a 100, with average numbers highly unacceptable.

Tamil Nadu must he said declare public health emergency that calls for focused and concerted effort by one and all. United action by the people and the government was the only answer, he said if the state is to battle the disease with any efficiency.

The government on its side put at least 10,000 teams, comprising nurses, doctors, public health workers and sanitation inspectors to go door to door to destroy the breeding grounds of the dreaded killer mosquito.

In Chennai alone, 5000 workers were on the streets. The health department officials have also issued 20,000 notices to residents from allowing the mosquitoes to breed, which is punishable by six months imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.

Tamil Nadu health secretary J Radhakrishnan described the notices and action as an awareness creation measure to achieve source reduction, the proven method globally, to control the disease.

All this is a bit too little and too late, Elango said adding that what the government is doing is commendable but it is clearly needs to be bumped up urgently.

This can be achieved only if a public health emergency is declared in the state of Tamil Nadu, that will bring the issue under the sharp focus and attention of national and global health bodies, Elango said citing the example of Navapur town in Maharahstra where public health emergency was declared in 2006 when bird flu broke out. The bird flu then was brought under control within a month.

Similar should be the target to achieve total eradition of the Aedes female mosquito, he said.

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