As Bihar struggles to escape the clutches of floods, it is hit by another problem: Dengue. This year, the state recorded 1,184 cases till October 9, 2019. Of these, Patna, which is the worst hit, registered 823 cases and 140 of them in just the last 48 hours, according to the state health department.
The department has launched intensive campaigns to check the spread of the deadly virus after flooding left many parts of the state with stagnant water.
“We are alert and have started taking steps to prevent the spread of the disease. There is no reason to panic,” said Sanjay Kumar, Bihar health secretary. Health camps and awareness campaigns are being organised across Patna, he added.
In 2018, around 2,100 people were tested positive for the disease and of these, 1,176 were from Patna, said health officials.
Most cases were from areas that witnessed heavy water logging in Patna, said doctors treating dengue patients. “Most of the dengue patients admitted to the hospital are from water logged areas,” said MP Prasad, head of medicine, Patna Medical College and Hospital.
The department has also formed teams to carry out indoor residual spraying and distribute and spray bleaching powder. So far, 23,000 packets (each weighing 500 grams) have been given to people.
“We have engaged 50 medical teams for spraying bleaching powder and they will cover around 60,000 homes in water-logged areas in Patna,” said the health secretary. “The situation is under control,” he added.
The department jumped into action after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered the authorities to take preventive measures to check the spread of dengue.
More than 12 localities in Patna, the worst being Rajendra Nagar, Kankarbagh and Patliputra, are still under waist-deep to neck-deep water for about 10 days after incessant rainfall lashed the state capital in the last week of September.
Many areas in Patna are water logged even a fortnight after the rains lashed the state. These areas could be serving as ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.