Better than cure

The onset of monsoon and the accompanying surge in mercury level has resulted in a rapid spread of viral fever in many Tarai districts. Particularly hard hit are Saptari and Mahottari, where hospitals and health posts are overflowing with viral fever patients. In Saptari alone, at least 150 people have been struck down by the disease. In Mahottari, comparable numbers are visiting health posts and district hospital with viral fever — characterised by headache, cold, high fever and occasionally, diarrhoea. What complicates the matter is that there are hardly any qualified doctor on hand. Health experts warn that if viral fever patients are not treated on time, they run a great risk of developing kala-zar and typhoid, both of which spread rapidly.

Contributing to the fast spread of viral fever are hot temperature and polluted water. In such conditions, the probability of contracting waterborne diseases like dysentery and cholera also remain high. This is especially the case with the Tarai districts now inundated by monsoon floods. Hence there is an urgent need to take preventive measures to control water pollution and maintain basic sanitary condition to ward off communicable diseases. More use of disinfectants and popularising the use of mosquito repellents and nets might be a good starting point. Also, as might greater mental preparedness to handle probable epidemics. In this case too, prevention is so much more cheaper, easier and better than cure.