New Delhi: Over 18,700 cases of dengue have been reported in the country so far in 2017, even as Union health minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday asked the states to mount aggressive awareness campaigns to check spread of vector-borne diseases.
Of all the state and union territories, the maximum number of cases have been reported in Kerala with 9,104, followed by Tamil Nadu with 4,174 till 2 July.
The health ministry has attributed early onset of monsoon as one of the factors for spurt in cases ahead of the vector-borne disease season.
The Union minister on Tuesday held a review meet on preparedness for vector-borne diseases, which was attended by health secretary C.K. Mishra, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Soumya Swaminathan, director general of health services Jagdish Prasad and senior officials of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP). Representatives of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and heads of centre-run hospitals were also present.
“We held two reviews, one for Delhi and the other for rest of the states and UTs. And, I can say that we are satisfied with our preparedness. We have already held three video-conferences on this matter and issued 13 advisories. The secretary (health) will soon hold video conferences with other states," Nadda told reporters after the meet.
“It (review) is a continuous process and we assess our preparedness. We have made a checklist and in these meetings we will recheck those items," the minister said.
Secretary Mishra said Kerala is battling a multiple onslaught of dengue, malaria and other such diseases due to early arrival of monsoon. “We had already sent a team there and it has come back after assessing the situation. But, no request has come from Kerala side on this matter. The state has a robust health mechanism though," he said.
Mishra added that many of these reported cases include suspected ones too, so the final confirmed cases tally would only come by the year-end, after the season ends.
According to the figures provided by the ministry, Karnataka has reported 1,945 cases, Gujarat 616, Andhra Pradesh 606 and West Bengal 469, among other states, till 2 July.
The number of dengue cases recorded in Delhi has touched nearly 100, with 44 of the infection cases diagnosed being traced to other states.
As many as 10,952 chikungunya cases have also been reported in the country till 2 July. Karnataka has recorded highest number of cases with 4,047.
With malaria and chikungunya cases continuing to rise in the national capital, Nadda also said the health ministry would soon hold a secretary-level meet with the Delhi government on ways to combat vector-borne diseases in the city.
At least 125 cases of malaria, 152 cases of chikungunya and nearly 100 cases dengue were recorded till 1 July, according to the latest municipal report.
During the meet, Nadda asked the states to “mount aggressive information, education, and communication campaigns to enhance awareness on prevention and control of vector-borne diseases in their surrounding areas and neighbourhoods".
“We have provided all logistical and technical support to the states, including Delhi, in terms of surveillance and diagnostic kits to strengthen their efforts in combating vector-borne diseases," the minister said.
Referring to the rising cases of malaria and chikungunya in Delhi, he said the central government was “adequately prepared" and more diagnostic kits would be supplied. Central hospitals were equipped to handle any situation, Nadda said.
The minister was also informed that technical guidelines for prevention and control and clinical management were developed and shared with the states for implementation.
The ministry has also conducted review meeting with the states and more than 13 advisories have been sent to all of them, as early as January for strengthening their preparedness before the season kicks in.
Nadda was further informed that the ministry has requested various states/UTs to declare dengue as a notifiable disease for improving its reporting and taking preventive measures in affected areas.