Bat habitats to be surveyed

Bats on a tree at the KIMS premises in Hubballi.

As a precautionary measure in the backdrop of fear of fatal Nipah infection in the State, the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) will collect information of trees inhabited by bats, and it has also decided to intensify the pig shifting drive.

Explaining the measures to be taken to prevent Nepah infection, at the HDMC's meeting on monsoon preparedness, held here on Friday, HDMC health officer P N Biradar stated that pig rearers are being asked to stop rearing pigs, while pig shifting drive would also be intensified.

Nepah can be suspected if the viral fever in a person does not come down after normal treatment, and if the mental health of the patient is affected. Though it can be cured if treated early, death is being reported in most of the cases, he said.

Awareness

Dr Biradar said, awareness about Nipah infection would be created among the people, while steps should be taken to cover open wells, to prevent the entry of bats.

HDMC veterinary doctor Ravi Saligoudar noted that the District Administration has asked the Forest Department to conduct a survey of trees where bats inhabited in large numbers.

The HDMC's health inspectors will co-ordinate with the Forest Department, and will collect information of such trees, so that it could come in handy if a decision about eliminating bats is taken in case of outbreak of Nepah, he said.

The police are now ready to give full security for pig shifting drive, and it would be conducted continuously. Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) authorities have also discussed with us regarding Nepah issue, and we would work together, he added.

With regard to Dengue and Chikungunya, Dr Biradar said, many as 140 health workers are conducting larva survey across the twin cities on first and third Friday of every month, and are destroying larva in stagnate water.

Other diseases

District entomologist Manjunath Patil informed the meeting that the number of dengue cases have come down from 172 cases last year to 19 cases this year.

As many as 11 cases of chikungunya were reported last year, and this number is five cases this year. Four cases of malaria have been reported in Dharwad, and all the patients were migrants, he said.

"We have identified problematic areas, mainly slum areas, where water collects which helps mosquito breeding. If we tell people not to store water, they ask us to supply water regularly, and to clear garbage thrown outside," Patil said.

Monsoon preparedness

HDMC public health, education,& social justice standing committee chairman Shivanand Muttannavar, who chaired the meeting, instructed the HDMC officials to form two teams in each zone, with workers and equipment, to handle damages caused by rain.

Trees that are likely to be uprooted should be identified in advance, and damage should be prevented. In association with HESCOM, dangerous electric poles should be repaired or replaced. Nalas and gutters should be cleaned, encroachment of Nalas should be cleared, and notice should be issued to those buildings above 2,000 square feet of area that lack rainwater harvesting facility, he said.

Cleaning works should be conducted properly, and all health inspectors should be in their wards from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm, he directed.

In association with KIMS and private doctors, at least 25 free health check-up camps should be conducted during the monsoon at various places, and free medicines should be distributed, Muttannavar added.

Zonal assistant commissioners explained preparations made in their zones to face rain havoc.

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Bat habitats to be surveyed

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