The death of a civil judge due to dengue has brought into sharp focus the inability of the Telangana government in controlling the vector-borne disease, which has already taken several lives in the state this month.
Judge Jayamma, who was serving as the second additional junior civil judge in Khammam, died early on October 21 morning of dengue shock syndrome. She was admitted in at a hospital in Hyderabad on October 19 and tested positive in the ELISA test for dengue. However, she could not recover and breathed her last at around 2 am on Monday.
Jayamma, who is survived by her husband and two sons, was transferred to Khammam from Guntur district last December following the bifurcation of the Andhra Pradesh high court.
As news of her death due to dengue spread, lawyers from Khammam, Kothagudem, Bhadrachalam, Yellandu, Manugur, Sattupalli and Madhira towns boycotted courts in protest.
The death of Jayamma debunked the state government’s claims that the spread of dengue in Telangana was under control.
According to media reports, there have already been 70 dengue-related deaths across the state with over 4,500 cases that were reported till September-end this year. However, in September, the state government denied that these deaths were related to dengue, which is caused by an infected parasite transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
The first ‘official’ death from dengue was of a 10-year-old boy, Rajesh, earlier this month. A resident of Godavarikhani, he died of what doctors termed was “‘dengue meningoencephalitis’.
His father, Vijay, a daily wage labourer, told the media that the child was first diagnosed with dengue at a private clinic but as his fever shot up, they first shifted him to a hospital in Ramangundam and then to Karimnagar. But as the boy’s condition showed no improvement, he was taken to Hyderabad where he was finally admitted at the Gandhi Hospital on September 30. However, three days later he died of dengue.
The hospital also reported four more dengue deaths this month – with all the victims being children. A child television artist, Gokul Sai Krishna, who appeared in several shows, also succumbed to the parasite strain in the state.
Local media also reported that there were over 1,000 positive cases of dengue in September alone as compared to 252 cases in the previous month.
Some doctors have attributed the increase in cases to the change in weather. A doctor at Gandhi hospital was quoted by the media as saying that while most cases were earlier reported during the peak monsoon in July, this time with the rains continuing into September and October more and more dengue cases continue to be reported.
At Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, 424 positive cases have been treated and five children have died this month alone.
Doctors are also concerned about the swine flu season that is due to set in soon and could result in even more distress for the state’s residents.
Several doctors in Hyderabad have pointed out that while the period between October and November and January and February was the peak season for cases of swine flu last year, more cases could be reported in November-December this year due to changes in the weather pattern.