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Official dengue toll touches 80; declare epidemic, say doctors

CHENNAI: The official death figures for dengue rose to 80 on Monday with directorate of public health officials confirming 40 deaths due to dengue and an equal number due to viral hemorrhagic fever or shock syndrome -triggered by dengue -since January. But senior doctors' bodies such as Indian Medical Association and Indian Public Health Association have been asking the government to declare the disease as an epidemic. A senior health official told TOI that although they have reported 11,500 cases of dengue since January, the real numbers could at least be thrice as much. "We don't want to give the full figures and cause panic. The number doesn't matter anymore. What we need is vector control. Declaring it an epidemic won't solve the problem," he said on the condition of anonymity. Former health director Dr S Elango said the state's decision to under-report cases was against WHO norms.

Another major problem is a 60% shortage in health inspectors. The state now has just 3,500 health inspectors against the required 10,000. "Half of these 3,500 inspectors have been transferred to the post from pro grammes that have been closed.
Hence, they aren't trained in vector control," said public health director Dr K Kolandasamy.

Pushpa Narayan | TNN | Oct 11, 2017, 06:29 IST.

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