October 14, 2012
PANJIM: Goa has witnessed a sudden rise of malaria cases this year, breaking a four-year declining trend, even as Directorate of Health Services stated that there was no reason to panic.
When asked to explain the reason for the sudden spurt in malaria cases, Dr Sachin Govekar cited “intermittent rainfall” and the number of migrants coming in from “states where malaria is high.”
“If we have a large number of migrants coming in from states such as Orissa, Bengal, and other states where incidence of malaria is high, then our number (of cases) goes up as well,” Govekar said.
With three months to go, before the end of the year, the state has registered a total of 1145 cases compared to last year’s total of 935 cases.
September registered the second highest number of cases (210) this year, with the highest number of 309 cases registered in July at the peak of the monsoon followed by August which recorded 145 cases of malaria, according to statistics made available by Directorate of Health Services.
Out of the 210 cases of malaria, 198 were diagnosed as Plasmodium vivex and 12 as Plasmodium falciparum.
The State Health Department had in the past made giant strides in controlling vector borne diseases since 2007 having successfully halved the number of cases each year from 6000-odd cases in the entire state to just 935 last year. That trend has now been broken.
Commenting on the trend, Dr Govekar said “We have done tremendous work in the past, and while it is true that there has been an increase this year, there is no reason to panic. The situation is under control. It is not as bad as it was before,” Govekar said.
To the health department’s credit there have been no deaths due to malaria this year, while there were two deaths recorded last year.
On the front of the other vector borne diseases, from August 18, 2012 to October 12, 2012 one case of Dengue has been detected in UHC Margao jurisdiction. So also from August 18, 2012 to October 12, 2012 a total of 118 samples were tested and two were confirmed positive for Chikungunya, one each under jurisdiction of PHC Curchorem and Curtorim.
So also from August 18, 2012 to October 12, 2012, six cases were confirmed positive for Japanese Encephalitis, one each under the jurisdiction of PHC Candolim, Bicholim, Betki, Sanguem, Loutolim and Quepem, and two from PHC Corlim.
From a travel perspective this means there is a larger reservoir of malaria cases from which infection can be transmitted. Individual measures against mosquito bites are imperative and travellers need to discuss the advisability of taking antimalarial medication with a travel health professional.
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