Centre alerts 11 states on ’emerging challenge’ of deadlier dengue strain

Health Ministry warned the affected states that the Serotype-II dengue strain could cause more cases and more complications

A high-level review meeting was held by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in which affected were issued advisories on preventing any surge due to new strains and the upcoming festival season

The Centre has directed 11 states who are facing the “emerging challenge” of a deadlier strain of dengue to ensure they have a rapid response team ready to detect cases quickly, launch fever helplines and stock enough testing kits, larvicides and medicines.

Media reports said that at a high-level review of the COVID-19 situation in the country, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also highlighted the high test positivity in states and especially warned them to avoid mass gatherings during the upcoming festival season.

At the meeting, the affected states facing the “emerging challenge” of the Serotype-II dengue were told to deploy rapid response teams for rapid early detection of the illness since this type of dengue can cause more cases and more complications than other forms of the disease, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said, reported NDTV.

It was suggested that the states should launch campaigns to promote their helplines, their methods of vector control and spread information on source reduction at homes and symptoms of dengue.

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The states registering Serotype-II dengue cases are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.

The health ministry had earlier issued an advisory to these states in August and on September 10.

On the issue of COVID-19 management, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed the need for 15 states, which continue to report high positivity rate, to take all the necessary precautions and ensure COVID safety norms are enforced.

Further, the NDTV reported quoted the Health Secretary as saying that 70 districts in 15 states “are a cause of concern”. These districts were continuing to report a high positivity rate over 5 per cent, with 34 districts recording more than 10 per cent positivity rate, he said.

The Health Ministry issued these warnings in lieu of the upcoming festival season which can lead to gatherings in closed spaces.

Therefore, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stressed that the states should scrupulously adhere to the prevailing guidelines for malls, local markets, and places of worship. Also, they were told to impose an effective Information, Education and Communication (IEC) process to encourage COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) and COVID safe festivities.

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Besides these directives, the Ministry has also advised states to closely monitor the case trajectories in all the districts on a daily basis so that they will be able to catch the disease at an early state. This will help them to impose restrictions and adhere to CAB.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, who had chaired this review meeting, cited the examples from other countries that had witnessed multiple peaks of COVID-19. And urged  state health administrators to augment health infrastructure and stock essential medicines to effectively handle any potential surge in cases.

This COVID-19 review meeting was also attended by Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, chief secretaries, Additional chief secretaries (Health), principal secretaries (Health), municipal commissioners, district collectors and other senior officials of states and Union Territories.

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