by Minhaj Masoodi
SRINAGAR: With winter almost knocking on the doorsteps, there has been a steady rise in the number of Covid19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir. Not only that, now even the number of dengue cases are also up with over a thousand cases of the vector-borne disease already reported from the Jammu region.
Of over 1078 dengue cases reported, close to 950 cases stand reported from Jammu district and its adjoining areas. Notably, in Kashmir where dengue cases are rarely found, more than 20 people have been tested positive for the disease.
This sharp rise in dengue cases coincides with the steady increase in Covid19 cases in the region. Although the third wave of the Covid19 has been kept at bay thus far, the cases have started to rise again.
In October, official sources said Jammu and Kashmir had a cumulative count of 2819 Covid19 cases of which 2290 were reported from the Kashmir region and 529 were reported from the Jammu division. For the month of November, the UT has already reported 513 cases thus far.
Between October 30, 2021, and November 6, 2021, as many as 18 Covid19 patients lost their lives, 14 of them in Kashmir. This period witnessed 3717 new cases across Jammu and Kashmir, 2925 of them from Kashmir, mostly Srinagar. In the last 24 hours, 151 fresh cases were reported. These included 135 from Kashmir.
In the last two cases, Kashmir created a chain of infrastructure to manage the Covid19. However, with the two viral diseases running a parallel course in the region, Kashmir does not have the required testing facilities for the dengue virus. There are only a handful of private diagnostic centres that do the tests required for confirmation of the dengue virus. The samples are, however, sent outside by many of these labs.
Director Health Speaks
However, Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather said that the department has tied up with the private labs till the time the department is able to do the testing on its own. He added that the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) is doing the testing for the diagnosis of the viral disease.
Clarifying the presence of dengue cases in Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq said that the cases in Kashmir are not indigenous. “The infected persons are all travellers who have come from Jammu, Delhi, Chandigarh and other states. They are all imported cases,” he asserted.
He added that those who had been infected are now doing well and have been sent to their homes.
“We have 25 cases so far in Kashmir. We had even admitted some of them here. Now, they are at their homes. We have set up a task force to check on them at their homes.”
He also said that there was no need to worry about the outbreak of dengue in Kashmir as the Aedes mosquito, which is the carrier for the virus, is native to tropical and subtropical areas and is not found in this part of the world.
“We have a cold environment here and this virus and the mosquitoes do not survive in the cold.”
Dr Mushtaq said that the department has also published information regarding the do’s and don’t’s for infected persons and members of their close circles. “Information about do’s and do nots has also been made available and our surveillance officers are monitoring the whole situation,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Srinagar Deputy Commissioner, Mohammad Aijaz Asad said the next two weeks are “very critical”.
“From last few days, Covid19 cases are increasing in Srinagar. Increasing positivity rate is a serious concern for us and if you see the overall picture, 60 per cent of the total cases in Jammu and Kashmir are reported from Srinagar district alone,” Aijaz Asad was quoted saying. “This makes it clear that there have been violations of Covid19 protocol and the same is happening continuously. We are carrying inspections in vehicles. Whosoever is found without a mask will be subjected to the Covid19 test. No single person has any right to infect other people.”