Sunday, April 19, 2009

Suspected cases of chikungunya

Suspected cases of chikungunya
Poorly maintained sewerage has yet again led to outbreak of chikungunya at Jai Bhuvaneshwarinagar near Yeshwanthpur, doctors suspect.

Around 1,000 are suffering from its symptoms in the area, claim the residents.

Septic tanks in the area have been overflowing for quite some time, leading to a mosquito menace, which might have caused chikungunya.

The first symptoms occurred two months ago when some residents complained of swelling and severe pain in the joints, and constant fever. Today almost all residents in the locality suffer from the ailment.

“Body weights of patients have come down drastically and they experience constant headaches and difficulty in walking. Most residents are daily wage labourers and continue to go to work,” says Louis, a resident.

The government hospital in the area has not been very effective, forcing residents to depend on private clinics.

“The government hospital does not have facilities or good medicines. Private hospitals charge around Rs 400 a visit,” says 50-year-old Seth.

The treatment has cost Seth and his family of 10, Rs 10,000 so far. As the disease would take another 5-6 months to be cured completely, treatment has to continue.

The mixing of sewage with water supply lines have been causing diseases like diarrhoea for quite some time now. Residents get water only from borewells, located very near to septic tanks. “The tanker water from BWSSB comes only once in 10-15 days. If stored for more than three days, it gets contaminated too,” says Seth. Adjacent areas which get Cauvery water supply have also seen an outbreak of diseases, but on a smaller scale. BWSSB has been replacing sewerage lines over the last few days.

Children are the worst-hit.

In the absence of effective intervention from anganwadis, there's no special attention given to them.

According to a survey by Rajeshwari, a member of NGO Sama Foundation, the condition of four children in is critical. “In such situations, government should have taken action on a war footing. But there is no response,” says Nagasimha G Rao, Convener of the NGO Child Rights Trust (CRT).

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