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Odisha Saw a 3-fold Rise in Malaria Cases in July, Health Workers Blame Complacency of Officials

Last year, successful malaria control programmes like Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) had significantly brought down malaria cases in the two districts.

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Updated:August 29, 2019, 2:01 PM IST
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Odisha Saw a 3-fold Rise in Malaria Cases in July, Health Workers Blame Complacency of Officials
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Malaria cases are on the rise in Odisha, threatening to undo the state’s successful efforts since 2016 to keep the mosquito-borne disease under check. From 2,584 in May and 2,714 in June, malaria positive cases shot up to a whopping 7,236 cases in July. Health authorities attribute the monsoon disease to a spurt in hot and humid weather conditions and inadequate use of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) during the beginning of transmission months. Malkangiri and Rayagada districts have reported 2,239 and 1,023 cases in July, respectively,

The New Indian Express reported. Notably, monsoon sees a number of mosquito-borne diseases letting their impact known including malaria, chikungunya and dengue.

Last year, successful malaria control programmes like Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) had significantly brought down malaria cases in the two districts.

Despite an overall decline of 49 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018, more number of malaria cases have been reported in “high-burden districts” this July.

Health workers blame the lack of coordination among officials and complacency for sharp rise in malaria positive cases.

“It is worrisome when we see the rise in malaria cases this year. I had alerted officials since April and urged them not to be complacent. But they did not pay heed,” a malariologist told The New Indian Express on condition of anonymity.

Additional Director of National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha Dr Prameela Baral admitted that July witnessed a rise in cases but the number was 30 per cent less than that of July last year.

She blamed people for not using LLINs regularly or washing the nets. “Despite repeated reminders, tribals continue to wash nets for various reasons and dry those under the sun. Repeated washing of nets removes insecticide making those less effective. Besides, people are reluctant to take the second dose of primaquine in cases of plasmodium vivax malaria, helping its transmission,” she said.

Meanwhile, the State Government has decided to replace LLINs in malaria-prone districts including Malkangiri, Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Koraput, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Sundargarh and Ganjam which had recorded more than 1,000 cases last year.

“We have urged the Centre to provide 1.13 crore nets for the purpose. Stress is also being laid on source reduction, fogging and door-to-door awareness drive,” Dr Baral added. The State has recorded 21,209 positive cases and three deaths from January to July this year compared to 42,317 cases last year.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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