Dengue: Health officials trash report as 'fake news'

Government health officials castigated media reports on Monday decrying an outbreak of dengue in and around the K R Puram area of the city as “fake news.”

Yesterday, a print newspaper and tabloid in the city reported that residents of Ayyappa Nagar, K R Puram and Coconut Grove Layout had reported widespread cases of dengue. The reports left the City’s District Surveillance Unit scrambling to inspect an estimated 750 homes in the alleged infected areas. 

“We found no new cases of infections in these areas,” clarified Dr Sunanda Reddy, chief of the surveillance unit.

Meantime, south of Bengaluru, in Anekal taluk, residents of a small village had been in an uproar claiming that a disease had entered their midst. Summoning local TV news channels on Ramzan day, several residents demanded immediate government intervention.

When the District Surveillance Unit investigated the 150 homes in the village, named Mantap, they found one person with a confirmed case of dengue and thousands of aedes aegypti mosquito larvae dwelling in the condensation behind a refrigerator owned by the primary complainant himself. Subsequent tests showed that at least one larvae carried the chikungunya virus.

Health officials stressed that the challenges of fighting these diseases are steep and said that there is no greater cure than prevention. In Ayyappa Nagar, health officials had found that the home of a complainant had a broken water pipe, which was allowing water to pool on the ground. Health officials called on the family to fix the problem immediately as the area has a prevalence of dengue. 

“Just days before, a mosquito collected from there had been determined by the National institute of Virology in Pine as being positive for the virus. Where water stagnates, dengue has a chance of proliferating. It is the responsibility of people must ensure that water does not stagnate in their homes or on their properties for more than two days” Dr Sunanda said.

 “We are only human. We cannot inspect every home every day,” she added. “Thousands of health workers are engaged in the battle against dengue, but it ultimately falls upon ordinary people to do their part.”

Health officials said that a “Fever Clinic” has been set up at Mantap, with one doctor posted full-time to monitor that the infection does not spread. 

Last week, on June 12, Karnataka health Minister Shivanand S Patil had categorically stated that most vector-borne diseases in the state was under control, including dengue and chikungunya, although data released by the government showed that various mosquito-borne diseases continue to persist in Bengaluru and the state, with 498 new cases of dengue (plus 311 cases in Bengaluru) and 381 new cases of Chikungunya (plus 26 in Bengaluru) reported this year (till May).

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