Health officials on alert for outbreak of infectious diseases as the Telangana floods abate

As the flood waters slowly recede, there are fears of an outbreak of infectious diseases in eight districts of Telangana.

BySumit Jha

Published Jul 18, 2022 | 6:43 PMUpdatedJul 28, 2022 | 11:45 AM

DPH Telangana Flood

As the waters slowly recede in the flood-affected districts of Telangana, health officials are preparing to tackle any outbreak of infectious diseases.

Eight districts of the state — Adilabad, Bhadradri-Kothagudem, Jayashankar Bhupalapally, Komaram Bheem Asifabad, Mancherial, Mulugu, Nirmal, and Peddapalli — have experienced incessant rain for the past week.

“We are conducting medical camps every day. There are around 10-12 villages that had been cut off because of the floods. We have reached them and have started conducting medical camps and fever surveys,” District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) Dr Todasam Chandu told South First.

After a flood, there are chances of an outbreak of infectious diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dengue and malaria. Affected areas are especially prone to disease outbreaks soon after the flood waters recede.

The surge in diseases happens as flood waters gets mixed up with sewage and other contaminants.

“As of now, there is no outbreak. We are on alert as the outbreak might become evident after a week,” Dr Devender Reddy, superintendent at a hospital in Nirmal district, told South First.

Medical team preparedness

As the rain subsided, Telangana Health Minister T Harish Rao on Saturday, 16 July, directed all doctors to cancel leaves and be available in the affected areas of the state.

The state government has appointed two senior doctors as nodal officers to monitor the health response in the flood-affected districts.

Director of Medical Education Dr K Ramesh Reddy has been put in charge of Adilabad, Asifabad, Mancherial, Nirmal and Peddapalli, while Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao will oversee Bhadradri Kothagudem, Mulugu and Jayashankar Bhupalapally.

They will assess the preparedness of the health departments of the districts. Also, all the districts have been directed to form Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) at the district and divisional levels, and establish helpline numbers for the public

“We have identified high-risk areas and have set up medical camps. We are coordinating with all the stakeholders, including the panchayati raj, revenue and sanitary departments, to reach the affected areas. We are undertaking awareness campaigns about health issues, highlighting prevention and control measures for waterborne and vector-borne diseases — as well as Do’s and Don’ts,” Peddapalli DMHO K Pramod Kumar told South First.

“We are ensuring that there is sufficient quantity of epidemic medicines, including IV fluids, and are trying to reach peripheral institutions,” said Dr Dayadha Swamy, DMHO, Bhadradri Kothagudem.

The health officials in the state have so far treated around 24,674 people in 289 health camps , with 25 patients having been referred to higher facilities in different districts.

Seasonal diseases in Telangana

Since the onset of monsoon on 1 June, Telangana has reported 787 cases of dengue, 32 cases of malaria, and one case of chikungunya till 11 July.

On the waterborne-disease front, the state has reported 6,405 cases of diarrhoea, 612 cases of dysentery, and 2,752 cases of typhoid from 1 June till July 11.