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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tamil Nadu prepares to battle chikunguniya

Chennai, June 13 - Tamil Nadu has begun preparations to check outbreak of chikunguniya in the state as the viral fever has claimed at least 40 lives in neighbouring Kerala in recent weeks.

Tamil Nadu's Health and Family Welfare Minister K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran Wednesday chaired a meeting to decide on steps to prevent the spread of the disease in the state that has reported six chikunguniya cases.

Chikunguniya is a fever whose virus is spread by the byte of Aedes Egyptis mosquitoes. Its symptoms include body pain, rashes and headache; and it can be fatal in some cases.

The minister said trains coming from Kerala were being fumigated.

'People arriving with symptoms of chikunguniya are being admitted to the government hospitals in Tamil Nadu districts,' Ramachandran told reporters here.

They were allowed to go to their destinations in Tamil Nadu but only after full treatment, he said, adding that doctors were sent to key towns along the border.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has already granted permission to appoint 3,850 temporary field health workers to help eliminate mosquitoes, and sanctioned Rs.71 million for the anti-mosquito drive.

The state government has made all necessary provisions for preventive medicines and pills to treat the disease and these medications were made available in all government hospitals and dispensaries, the minister said.

The district collectors were asked to create public awareness about the infection, he said.

The government has also initiated steps, through local bodies, to rear Kampuchea, a type of fish that eats the mosquito larvae and helps eradicate the mosquito that spreads the disease, Ramachandran said.

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