Bareilly fever deaths: 648 test positive for ‘killer’ malaria strain

Bareilly fever deaths: 648 test positive for ‘killer’ malaria strain

Bareilly: The health department has confirmed the presence of a whopping 648 positive cases of the deadly plasmodium falciparum (PF) malaria in the past six days in the district. The death toll climbed to 39 on Friday with the death of an 11-year-old boy, who had tested positive for PF malaria, in Behta Bujurg village of Majhgavan block. Meanwhile, health teams from Lucknow and New Delhi found that the density of mosquitoes in Majhgavan is five times higher than normal. The block has witnessed the most number of deaths due to fever in the past couple of weeks.

Dr Vikasendu Agarwal, state surveillance officer who is also leading the UP rapid response team in Bareilly, said, “Of the 648 positive cases of PF malaria, 200 were reported from Majhgavan block in a single day on Friday. I have not come across such a large number of PF cases in one district in about 20 years. Majhgavan is a challenging scenario. Also, 1,969 cases of plasmodium vivax (PV) malaria (one of the common variants of the disease) have been reported till now.”

TOI had earlier reported how PF is considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of malaria and not found in the region. According to the World Health Organization, PF malaria can be fatal if treatment is delayed beyond 24 hours after the onset of clinical symptoms. Variable clinical features such as fever, chills, headache, muscular aching and weakness, vomiting, coughing, diarrhoea and abdominal pain are seen in PF cases of malaria.

Bhagwan Das, village head of Behta Bujurg, said, “Mumtyaz (11), son of Munne Abbasi, had tested positive for PF in the health camp on Thursday. His treatment had begun but the boy’s condition deteriorated rapidly on Friday. The minor died on his way to a private hospital in Bareilly.”

Nine persons alone have died in the village so far. Health officials claimed that 20 people in Bareilly district have died due to fever. The department has pressed 95 teams in 10 blocks of the district that are using Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) which can confirm the presence of malaria in about 3 to 10 minutes.

A patient suffering from PF has to undergo three-day treatment while a PV patient gets a 14-day-long cure. Officials also said that if a PF patient gets timely treatment, he or she can fully recover.

Dr Vineet Shukla, chief medical officer, said, “People have been advised to wear full-sleeved clothes and apply mosquito repellents. They should not let water to remain stagnant near their houses.”

“Entomologists who are part of the team from New Delhi have found density of aedes and anopheles mosquitoes higher than normal in Majhgavan. Aedes mosquitoes cause dengue while anopheles bites can lead to malaria. We have not found any case of dengue till now but have asked private laboratories to inform us if they come across one,” said Dr Agarwal.