Civic body too short-staffed to tackle dengue sting

Civic health officers are getting ready to meet the situation arising out of the spurt in dengue cases in the city but an internal review on Friday found that the 2,500-odd mosquito breeding sites greatly outnumber the personnel available to eliminate them.

There is a severe crunch with only 470 of the 685 approved posts in the insect control department being filled and 61 health personnel in the department being deputed for other works rather than getting them to focus on vector control.

Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak issued a series of instructions on Friday to get the health department to function effectively and make it focus on indoor fogging.

With blood banks facing an increasing demand for platelets to treat dengue patients admitted to various hospitals, an urgent meeting will be convened on Sunday to encourage blood donation.

Pathak told Newsline he has passed instructions that health officials deputed for other works be brought back to their own department and a door-to-door survey be conducted to eliminate indoor mosquito breeding sites. PMC acting chief medical officer Dr S T Pardeshi said that on Monday, a meeting will be held to fill the posts of contractual workers for the vector control programme. He admitted a shortage of more than 300 contractual workers to conduct container surveys and locate mosquito breeding spots indoors.

State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said dengue cases across the state had risen to 931 and there have been 34 deaths. Three deaths each were from Mumbai and Pune, seven were from Jalgaon, and five from Dhule and places like Kolhapur, Osmanabad and Latur.

Awate said four strains of the dengue virus are doing the rounds and Dengue 1 strain is leading to a lot of fever cases, while dengue 2 strain is causing haemorrhages.

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