Only largescale testing can assess the situation. The government hospitals are busy administering the Covid-19 vaccine and are not able to conduct any type of test, said a senior ASHA worker. Representational image/PTI
Visakhapatnam: Dengue cases have been increasing rapidly in the city and Agency areas, overshadowing the good news that fewer cases of malaria were reported. In the first week of the New Year, 20 dengue positive cases have been registered.
According to health department officials, 8,989 blood samples were collected from suspected dengue patients last year and of whom 1,212 tested positive. There were 603 positive cases in the city, 191 in peripheral urban areas, 363 in rural areas and and 55 in tribal areas.
In 2020, 1,084 blood samples were collected and of them 219 tested positive. The city registered 118 positive cases, peripheral urban zones 22, rural areas 68 and tribal areas just seven.
"Last year we collected six times more samples than the previous year and the positivity rate has been less at 18.6 per cent. This year we will collect more samples to assess the situation in the city,’’ said incharge district medical and health officer Dr K. Vijayalakshmi.
She denied reports that the dengue cases being treated at private and corporate hospitals were going unreported. There were three designated labs in the district — one each at King George Hospital, Narsipatnam and Araku — and testing cannot be concealed.
Para medical workers said people were swarming the private and government hospitals with complaints of fever and body pain.
"Only largescale testing can assess the situation. The government hospitals are busy administering the Covid-19 vaccine and are not able to conduct any type of test,’’ said a senior ASHA worker.
A senior doctor said the health department should increase testing for both dengue and Covid-19.
The incidence of malaria has come down in Visakhapatnam district. The agency areas in particular registered 36 per cent fewer cases in 2021 compared to 2020.
According to available data, 6.12 lakh blood samples were collected in 2020 and of them 1,183 tested positive which includes 1,152 positive cases in the agency areas.
In 2021, 7.20 lakh samples were collected and of them 841 positive cases were reported. The agency registered 734 positive cases of the 4 lakh samples collected.