Published Date: 2008-12-07 22:00:38
Subject: PRO/EDR> Malaria - India (02): (Chandigarh)
Archive Number: 20081207.3841
MALARIA - INDIA (02): (CHANDIGARH)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sun 6 Dec 2008
Source: Tribune India [edited]
While illegal mining in the Ghaggar of the town remains a concern for
the local administration and environmentalists, the huts set up by
migrant laborers along the Ghaggar river have posed a grave danger to
the health of locals.
While a death was reported due to cholera in the month of July 2008
from the region, the health authorities were alarmed when a total of
26 cases of deadly falciparum malaria were detected during a survey
of the area recently.
In fact, out of 29 cases of falciparum malaria reported from all over
the district, 26 were reported from this small stretch of 10 km
spanning Burj Kotian and Diwan wala village.
The region commonly known as crusher zone on Jalla Road on the bank
of river Ghaggar, has provided a livelihood to thousands for decades,
including labourers, vegetable vendors, and dhaba wallas.
The majority of workers employed at the crushers, washing plants and
quarrying at the riverbed come from different parts of the country,
including Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. While the labourers
living along the river and nearby forest areas are prone to
vector-borne diseases, it was also found that falciparum malaria had
entered the region with the migrants from eastern Uttar Pradesh.
There were more than 5000 labourers, and, including their families,
there were more than 20 000 people who settled along the riverbed
spanning over 5 km.
Dr Anil Ailawadhi, deputy civil surgeon, (malaria) said that while 4
types of the plasmodium parasite can infect humans, the most serious
forms of the disease are caused by _Plasmodium falciparum_ and
_Plasmodium vivax_, but other related species, _Plasmodium ovale_ and
_Plasmodium malaria_ can also affect humans, he said.
However, severe malaria is almost exclusively caused by _Plasmodium
falciparum_ infection and usually arises 6-14 days after infection,
said Dr Ailawadhi. In fact, it results in several health
complications, including coma and death if untreated, he added.
While the cases of _Plasmodium falciparum_ kept increasing, it was
decided to conduct the survey before it could spread in the nearby
towns of Pinjore and Panchkula, said Dr Ailawadhi. The teams under Dr
Surinder Nain, CHC, Kalka and Dr Anup Jain, PHC, Pinjore were
constituted for the purpose, and patients were given medicines, he
The medics were shocked to find that 3 members from 2 of the families
living in the area were infected with the deadly disease.
[Byline: Arun Sharma]
[Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Shivalik range of
the Himalayas in northwest India and is 321 meters above sea level.
The winters (November to Mid-March) are cool, and the average
temperatures in winter remain at a maximum of 7-15 C and a minimum of
-2-5 C. Transmission of _P. falciparum_ requires an average 24 hour
temperature of 20 C or above for the development of the parasite in
the mosquito to take place. If the winter in Shinagar is not
exceptionally warm, the winter temperatures exclude local
transmission of _P. falciparum_, and if the species diagnosis is
correct, these must be cases imported with the migrant laborers