Bareilly fever: UP officials believe deadly Plasmodium Falciparum malaria is cause; state grapples with poor healthcare

At least 42 people have lost their lives since the onset of a deadly fever in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh since the first week of September. The state has been grappling with inadequate sanitation at the local level and a shortage of facilities to provide treatment to the sick. The Majhgavan town in the district, and the adjoining districts Badaun and Shahjahanpur, have also been affected.

On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh health minister Sidharth Nath Singh visited Bareilly and took stock of the situation of public healthcare in the district, CNN-News18 reported.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

"In December 2017, the state government prepared a work plan to deal with vector-borne diseases. Under the plan, apart from taking slides, a test has to be performed through a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit to know whether the person is suffering from malaria. As the plan has not been implemented properly in this case, I immediately suspended district malaria officer (DMO) Dr PK Jain," the health minister said.

He accused Jain of "carelessness".

Singh also ordered the suspension of Additional Director (Health) SK Agarwal, district health officer Ashok Kumar and in-charge of Jagatpur Hospital, Sunita Bhardwaj. The state government has constituted three teams of doctors to look into the cases in Bareilly and Badaun, Uttar Pradesh DG (Health) Padmakar Singh said.

The Times of India reported that on Wednesday, a team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) also arrived in Bareilly to investigate the cause of the fever. Entomologists (people who study insects), who were part of the team, collected samples from a pond in Behta Bujurg village in the Majhgavan block. Dr Vineet Shukla, chief medical officer, said that the NCDC team had collected samples of insects to find out the species present in the villages. "The team is also conducting surveillance on what more steps need to be taken to control the disease," he said.

The state's rapid response team has found the presence of the plasmodium falciparum (PF) malaria in Bareilly's Majhgavan block. This region has witnesses the most casualties due to the disease.

Hindustan Times reported that a huge number of patients came to the Bareilly district hospital and other health centres on Wednesday, suffering fever and bouts of shivering. The report quotes Vineet Shukla as saying that there have been over 1,500 patients with fever-like symptoms since 29 August.

What is Plasmodium Falciparum malaria?

Plasmodium Falciparum is one of the four kinds of protozoa that cause malaria. It causes the most severe kind of malaria. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the symptoms of PF malaria include: fever, chills, headache, muscular aching and weakness, vomiting, cough, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. These are usually followed by organ failure-like symptoms, which then commonly lead to coma and death.

PF malaria could be fatal if not treated within 24 hours since the start of the clinical symptoms. For diagnosis of the falciparum malaria, cases of unexplained fever should be investigated between the first seven days to three months since the first and last exposure respectively. A person who experiences fever in the duration should immediately seek diagnosis and treatment.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Sep 14, 2018 16:04:00 IST

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