Govt wakes from slumber after dengue kills 13-yr-old

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With the dengue fever taking the entire Telangana state into its grip, particularly the urban Hyderabad area, the state government finally stopped denying that the existence of the epidemic after a thirteen-year-old student of an uptown English medium school died and unconfirmed reports from districts put the total death figure at 50.

The government has started taking steps to control the menace by clearing garbage and improving sanitation.

Hundreds of concerned parents gathered at the Gitanjali Devshala school and protested against the unhygienic conditions allegedly prevailing in the school. Class eight student, T John Elisha of the school succumbed to severe dengue and multi-organ dysfunction on 31 August. The corporate hospital where he has undergone treatment confirmed the prognosis.

“The condition in the school and surroundings is not clean, with open drainage flowing close to a school ground,” a ninth standard student of the school said. Parents also alleged that at least 50 students from the school were diagnosed with some kind of viral fever, indicating that there is something grossly wrong with hygiene in the school.

It is now confirmed that 530 cases of dengue have been reported from all over Telangana in the past one month. The health department says that the number of dengue cases has almost doubled when compared to last year. This year, 2113 cases were reported while it was only 1012 last year. Speaking to the media, state health minister Etela Rajender, who visited the Government Fever Hospital here in Nallakunta, said that the death toll can't be confirmed as few might have had treatment in private hospitals.

“Not all fevers are dengue cases,” he said.

“Out of the 25,000 outpatient registrations in Fever hospital, the main centre for fevers in Telangana, in the month of June, only nine were confirmed dengue cases. And in August only 61 were diagnosed with the fever while 51,000 patients registered at the OP,” he said that. The minister saw to it that the number of consultation counters was increased to cope up with the incessant inflow of patients complaining of severe fever and body aches.

Government Fever Hospital superintendent Dr K Shankar says that cold cough, fever and body pains are common symptoms for seasonal flu and dengue. “In flu, body temperatures will not be high, but in dengue, the temperatures go up to 103 degrees F,” he said. Meanwhile, the Congress and the BJP leaders in the state have criticized the state government for the inept handling of seasonal fevers.

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