Angul: Even though the Covid-19 situation is improving in Angul district, the fear of malaria and dengue outbreak is gripping the residents. Malaria and dengue have (28 and 26) so far claimed 54 lives in this district in the last 10 years. However, this year the district is yet to report a single malaria or dengue case. However even then, the district administration is taking all precautions to prevent the outbreak of the diseases.
According to Health department sources, Pallahara, Athmallik and Kishorenagar blocks have earned notoriety with a large number of malaria cases. On the other hand, dengue cases are usually prevalent in Talcher, Banarpal, Chhendipada and Angul blocks.
Officials of the district administration are constantly trying to develop awareness about the two types of fever. They have launched ‘Nidhi Rath’ (an awareness vehicle) that is moving around in the district informing the people about the preventive measures needed to be taken against malaria and dengue. ASHA and health workers have also been engaged to create awareness among the people, particularly those living in remote areas.
In 2011, a total of 10,316 people tested positive for malaria in the district and two breathed their last. The details in the subsequent years for malaria are as follows:
(2012): 7,676 patients, one death; (2013): 11,553 patients, five deaths; (2014): 27,600 patients, seven deaths; (2015): 29,853 patients, five deaths; (2016): 17,272 patients, two deaths; (2017): 9,854 patients, three deaths; (2018): 647 patients, no deaths; (2019): 26 patients, no deaths; (2020): 109 patients, three deaths
Dengue claimed 23 and three lives in the district in 2011 and 2013 respectively. However, there were no dengue deaths in 2012.
In the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 the number of dengue cases reported in the district were 54, 56, 45, 14, 34, 35 and two respectively. Not a single fatality was reported in these seven years.
“People have become more health cautious, thanks to Covid-19. So they are extra careful and that may be one of the reasons why malaria and dengue cases have not been reported so far,” said Swarup Padhi, a local resident here.
“However, in Angul town the administration is not as serious as it ought to be. Garbage continues to pile up at many places across the town. The administration is focusing on rural pockets, but at the same time, it should also think about the condition in the town,” Padhi added.
Another resident of this town, Biswajit Biswal said awareness can only help people keep the diseases at bay. “Even today, people are not keeping their surroundings clean and are also not using mosquito nets,” Biswal pointed out.
In this regard, CDMO, Angul, Dr Trilochan Pradhan said the malaria and dengue situation is not alarming as it was in the past. “We have managed to check the diseases to a great extent. There will not be any outbreak of malaria and dengue cases during this rainy season, if people ensure their surroundings are neat and clean. Presently, teams have been visiting hilly, inaccessible pockets and creating awareness among the people there,” he informed.
When contacted, Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain said the district has not reported any malaria and dengue cases in 2021. “That does not mean that we will let our guard down. All should be careful and take precautions as the neighbouring districts have been reporting dengue cases. All Sub-Collectors have been directed to keep a close watch on the situation and take steps to create awareness among the people in their respective areas. The health workers are also working sincerely,” said Swain.