Specific task forces have been pressed into action to tackle the vector-borne disease in war footing.

Agartala: With the onset of the rainy season, Tripura has registered a massive spike of malaria cases in selected remote areas located under Dhalai, Gomati, South Tripura districts.

Certain parts of Khowai district have also been affected, an official of the National Health Mission said on Monday. Two children, so far, lost their lives due to the deadly disease, officials added.

Like previous years, Dhalai district has reported the highest number of cases and specific task forces have been pressed into action to tackle the situation on war footing.

Speaking on the issue, an official of the National Health Mission said, “After 2018, this year the situation seems to be alarming. Targeted screenings are being done and patients who are infected with the vector-borne disease are being extended all sorts of medical help. Since the seasonal outbreak started, two children have lost their lives due to the high fever. We are trying hard to make sure that there are no more fatalities.”

The year-wise break up of malaria cases in Tripura showed that between 2015 to 2017, malaria cases were under control. In both the years, a minimal number of cases were reported with two and three deaths. However, in 2018, the state once again reported a major outbreak. This year, till May 31, 2022, total cases have already crossed the 2,000 mark, official said.   

 “The spike in cases is surprising for us. Areas like Longtharai valley (Dhalai district), Gurudhanpara (Dhalai), Sikari Bari (Dhalai), Mungiakami (Khowai) and Silachari (Gomati) have been identified as vulnerable areas. We get cases in these specific areas almost every year. This year too, these areas are marked as hotspots but in comparison to previous years, the number of cases is higher. All the health facilities of these areas have been alerted and asked to make necessary preparations for a severe outbreak,” said the official.

He said that the patients who died were of six and eight years of age. “A number of death reports reached us but whether the reason behind the death is malaria or not is being ascertained,” said the official.

The official also said that there is a pattern in the outbreaks. “In 2014, a huge number of malaria cases were detected. In a gap of four years, 2018 was a tough year and now in 2022. So every four years, malaria cases record an alarming rise,” he pointed out.

According to reports, the total number of cases detected this year stands at 2005 till May 31, 2022.  

Director National Health Mission Tripura Siddhartha Shiv Jaiswal said that his department had been closely monitoring the developments and adequate efforts were being made to contain fresh infections.

“Dhalai district has so far been the most affected district in terms of fresh spike in malaria cases. Mass screening programs are afoot to detect cases as much as possible and simultaneously, awareness camps are being conducted in areas that are listed as vulnerable. We find no reason behind the rise in cases but we feel the rise in mosquito breeding spaces in those localities are the main reason behind this. Surveillance teams are looking after this aspect as well,” said Jaiswal.    

To ensure door-to-door testing, he said, ASHA and Anganwadi workers have been assigned the job of screening and symptom-tracing. “Special teams for each district are also constituted for effective surveillance,” he added.  

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