Manipur is yet again under the scanner as this time it is a worsening Dengue outbreak with 1338 dengue cases officially registered till October 13.
This is the highest infection figure that the state has recorded in recent times. There were only 203 cases of dengue reported in 2021 while in 2022, it increased to 503 cases.
State Health Directorate released on Friday a status report of confirmed dengue cases and deaths from 1st January to 13 October 2023 features a zero morbidity rate as of now but records 5 suspected dengue-related deaths. State Malaria Officer of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme, Dr S Priyokumar confirmed the official figures, recorded from across the state since January with Imphal West, classified as the worst hit district with 898 cases, including 3 suspected deaths and Tamenglong with the two newly formed districts of Pherzawl and Jiribam yet to report any case so far.
According to the status report, Imphal East reported 241, Thoubal 79, Tengnoupal 15, Chandel 4, Senapati 28, Kangpokpi 8, Noney 5, Kakching 13, Ukhrul and Kamjong 1 each.
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This worrying development comes at a time when the hill state is struggling to get back to normalcy from the unprecedented ethnic strife that flared up on 3 May and has ravaged the lives of hundreds and displaced over 60,000 people who are being sheltered in (mostly) make-shift relief camps, occupying schools, colleges, community halls and government buildings.
Dengue is a viral infection spread to humans by mosquitoes affected by the dengue virus (DENV). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about half of the world's population is now at risk of dengue with an estimated 100–400 million infections occurring each year.
“Dengue mosquitoes lay eggs in clean water stored in containers inside homes such as bottles, flower vases, tyres etc,” said Dr S Priyokumar who encouraged all to wear long sleeves and pants during the day as these mosquitoes are active in the daytime.
With over 60,000 people, including 22,000 children and 300 senior citizens, currently sheltered in 351 relief camps since early May till date, the prospect of fighting the dengue outbreak seems daunting. This is so because, other than a few, most camps face challenges of sanitation and water supply via water reservoirs, increasing the potential of becoming ideal breeding grounds. Compounding the problem is the issue of people living together in cramped spaces, which is vulnerable to mass infection.
On the brighter side, most DENV cases are asymptomatic, producing only mild illness, with only a very few developing into severe cases. Medical practitioners say early detection and access to timely, proper medical care are key to lowering fatality rates of severe dengue.
Usually, symptoms manifest 4–10 days after infection and last for 2–7 days, varying from high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands and rash. Individuals infected for the second time are at risk of severe dengue. Symptoms of severe dengue normally come after the fever has gone. Severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums or nose, fatigue, restlessness, blood in vomit or stool, being very thirsty, pale and cold skin and feeling weak are symptoms of severe dengue.
The State Malaria officer informed that the Government has taken up several preventive measures like fogging, source reduction drive and supply of impregnated bed-nets at different locations across the State to kill mosquito eggs and several awareness and media campaigns.
Dr Lokeshwar Singh, the Superintendent of the state-run Jawaharlal Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) confirmed that there has been a surge in Dengue cases in Manipur revealing that those who are undergoing treatment for viral infections have complications and low platelet count. Dr Singh added that 26 people who were admitted to the hospital for dengue fever had platelet transfusion and no viral infection fatality has been reported so far.
Strife-torn Churachandpur district witnessed a surge of cases with the Churachandpur district hospital reporting 26 probable cumulative positive cases on Friday. To contain the outbreak, the district Malaria department has taken preventive measures like fogging activities at various localities where cases of dengue were detected namely Singseng, Tuibong, DM Veng, Rengkai, Zomi Colony and New Lamka.
Cases of dengue are higher in thickly populated areas.
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