Malaria cases leave Andaman on alert

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Port Blair, Apr 2 (UNI) An alarming increase in number of malaria cases in southern group of islands of Andaman and Nicobar this year has left the local health department in a state of alert.

Worried over the high prevalence rate of malaria in southern group of islands, the Director of Health Services is dispatching a team of doctors along with paramedics and adequate medicines to the affected Islands of the remote archipelago such as Terassa, Katchal, Kamorta and Campbell Bay islands.

''We are sending an 18 member team to southern group of islands to contain the spread of the disease and to carry out surveillance besides taking preventive as also control measures,'' Dr Wajid Ali Shah, the incharge of Malaria Unit of Andaman's Health Department told UNI today.

Meanwhile, a medical team visited Teressa, one of the worst tsunami hit islands, last Friday to assess the situation there. ''We have also requested the Regional Medical Research Institute (RMRC) to depute a medical team to the Southern Group of Islands,'' Dr Shah added.

The Directorate of Health Services has also requested the ICMR to restore the Malaria Research Centre Unit at remote Kamorta Island, which was washed away in the 2004 tsunami.

''Although the entire Nicobar Group of Islands always has high prevalence rate of malaria, the number of cases this year is higher than the last years, which is a cause of worry but till now situation is under control,'' the doctor said.

Health workers believe that the cause of rise in number of malaria cases could be attributed to the increased number of immigrant labourers, who are involved in Tsunami reconstruction works in Southern Groups of islands. Most of these immigrant labourers are from 'Bimaru' states like West Bengal, Bihar etc.

''Only in Teressa Island there are nearly 1000 private labourers working in different projects, which could be also a reason behind this rise in malaria cases,'' Dr Wajid Ali Shah added.

The alarm was raised when last week a Chief Medical Officer of Andaman Health Department posted in southern group of Islands died allegedly of malaria.

UNI SKR BA AM BD1326

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