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Dengue fever: Strict action against negligent doctors in Kolkata

Chikungunya mosquito.
The aedes aegypti mosquito, one of the most prominent dengue vectors.

Kolkata medicos will face strict action if they do not adhere to guidelines outlining the proper treatment of dengue fever.

A meeting between the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and personnel from government-run hospitals in the city emphasised the importance of following dengue treatment protocols devised in 2017. Atin Ghosh, Kolkata’s Deputy Mayor, pledged action against medical personnel who exhibited “negligence” in handling cases of the disease, noting that inspection teams will be dispatched to public and private hospitals alike where cases are recorded.

“They will take the treatment history of [dengue] patients,” an official told The Telegraph. “In [cases] of dengue deaths, the doctors will find out why the patient had died and whether the treatment protocol had been followed,” he said. “The teams will check if infrastructure problems (lack of beds and ventilators) had delayed the treatment of dengue patients.”

With monsoon season now upon us, vigilance against dengue fever is vital. The mosquito-borne disease is endemic throughout India with urbanisation facilitating its wider spread owing to densely packed populations impacting the effectiveness of sanitation policies. This allows for refuse to be strewn along streets and pockets of stagnant water to originate, providing ample opportunity for populations of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito species chiefly responsible for spreading dengue to find new breeding grounds.

Kolkata is no outlier among Indian cities when it comes to the difficulties of waste management. While citizen-led initiatives to recycle refuse have earned praise, the West Bengal state capital is nonetheless reliant on a single landfill site to dispose of the 4,500 tonnes of waste it generates daily. Fears have been expressed that, given the overburdening of that site, dumping of waste in residential areas could become a common phenomenon – posing risks to the health of citizens including through a preponderance of mosquitoes.

With this in mind, the missives from the KMC to doctors encouraging proper handling of dengue cases are of vital importance. Last year, more than 101,000 dengue cases were reported nationwide and, this year alone, 5,504 cases have been reported as of May 26th. Appropriate responses are necessary – and it is incumbent upon authorities to enforce this.

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