Present situation doesn''t call for declaring dengue a medical emergency in Karnataka: Minister

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Bengaluru, Jul 8 (PTI) Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday said the situation now doesn't call for declaring dengue as a "medical emergency" in the state, as he rejected the suggestion made by the opposition BJP.

He said, amid a spike in dengue cases, officials have been issued directions to take all preventive measures.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly R Ashoka, eminent cardiologist and Bangalore Rural BJP MP Dr C N Manjunath had urged that the Congress government declare dengue as a “medical emergency", and called for more efforts to control its spread.

"We have held separate meetings with CEOs of Zilla Panchayats from all districts and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Instructions have been given to spray medicines at places where mosquitoes germinate and spread more awareness among the public," Rao said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said as there are many active dengue cases in the state, the number of tests being conducted have been increased and arrangements have been made for treatment. Also, there are a couple of Zika virus positive cases.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met on Sunday in the backdrop of advice from opposition leaders and others to declare dengue as a medical emergency, the Minister said.

"But the situation is not such, to declare it a medical emergency, because all the facilities are there, like beds, medicines. The TAC was of the opinion that the situation was not so grave," he said.

As per health department data, Karnataka has till last evening recorded 7,165 dengue positive cases since January this year, with areas coming under the city civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) accounting for the largest at 1,988.

On Sunday, the state reported 159 fresh dengue infection cases, including 80 in BBMP areas.

To a question about any discussion at the TAC meeting regarding reserving beds for dengue patients, Rao said dengue infection doesn't spread from person to person, unlike COVID, but still hospitals have been advised to keep beds.

"These cases can be handled at general wards, as there will be no need for any isolation......There is a need to spread awareness among people as to at which stage of fever they need to go to hospitals, and it will be done," he said, adding that there is need to be cautious for another two-three months as rains are likely to continue.

Asked about reports that some private hospitals were still charging more for dengue testing, despite the government capping the rates, he said: "If anyone complaints we will take action, I will also ask our officials to check. We can take action, no one should charge more." Urging the opposition not to politicise over dengue and spread fear among people, the Minister said, they have to behave responsibly and join hands with the government.

"Instead, making vague statements is not right. I have spoken to BJP MP C N Manjunath, he spoke well and gave good advice, but Ashoka and other opposition leaders are saying vague things, they should think scientifically and advise in the interest of the people." "More than mosquitos, BJP's lies are spreading faster. It needs to be curbed," the Minister commented. PTI KSU RS RS