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Health department sleeps over malaria

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Rains imminent, DDT spraying yet to start in vulnerable areas

MALARIA SYMPTOMS

* Symptoms begin 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, although a person may feel ill as early as 7 days later.

* Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting.

HOW IT KILLS

* If drugs are not available or if the parasites are resistant to them, malaria infection can develop to anemia, hypoglycemia or cerebral malaria, in which capillaries carrying blood to the brain are blocked.

* Cerebral malaria can cause coma, life-long learning disabilities, and death.

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, April 3: Shocking but true: Assam records 20 per cent of malaria deaths in the country. The South-West monsoon that brings rainfall to the State from May every year, is usually followed by malaria. Enhanced morbidity takes a heavy toll on human lives because the malaria outbreak has become an annual event in the State.

Despite knowing this pattern of malaria outbreak, the State Health department is yet to start spraying DDT in the malaria-prone pockets across Assam. What is most unfortute is that when the disease turns epidemic, the Health department wakes up and starts spraying DDT, to no avail for it is already too late.

Sources point out that as a basic preventive measure to tackle malaria, DDT must be sprayed in vulnerable areas before the start of monsoon. “By February 15, the Health department should have started DDT spraying to kill the eggs laid by Anopheles mosquitoes but no steps have been taken by the department in this regard so far. Anopheles mosquitoes lay eggs before the start of rainy season. If DDT is sprayed after the beginning of monsoon, it proves ineffective,” sources said.

It may be mentioned here that malaria is a disease of the blood that is caused by the plasmodium falciparum parasite, which is transmitted from person to person by female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Sources in the Directorate of Health Services, Assam said it is yet to get any notification from the government to start DDT spraying in the State’s malaria-prone pockets.

Rising virulence of plasmodium falciparum parasite that often leads to fatalities, combined with increasing resistance to drugs, iccessibility and remoteness of the severely malaria-prone pockets and other factors have made people in those regions more vulnerable.

Malaria cases have been registered in almost all the districts of Assam. Some districts, including Karbi Anglong, gaon, Dima Hasao, Hailakandi, Kokrajhar, Goalpara and Baska, have been identified as more vulnerable. However, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Tinsukia districts have registered significantly less number of malaria cases.

The Sopur area near Guwahati is a high-risk malaria pocket with 70 per cent tribal population.


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