The diarrhoea outbreak that has ravaged 11 municipal wards in Kolkata affecting more than 5000 people has virtually woken up the ministry of health to take stock of the situation in the city.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) under the ministry will seek detailed report on the prevention and control measures on the disease outbreak in 11 wards under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) area from both state health department and KMC authorities.
“We are aware of the diarrhoea outbreak in Kolkata and the state health department and KMC will be asked to send us report as soon as possible. The state health department may take help of the experts associated with the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Disease (NICED) in Kolkata as and when they require,” Dr A C Dhariwal, director of the NCDC said from Delhi.
On the other hand, NICED director Dr Shanta Dutta has already raised questions about the state health reluctance to take medical help from the central government institute at a time when the outbreak is spreading rapidly.
Dr Dutta has also objected about the ‘faulty and improper’ collection process of stool samples of affected diarrhoea-affected patients. “Stool samples of several suspected diarrhoea patients were brought to our laboratory from the state-run Bagha Jatin State General Hospital to test the presence of any bacteria.
But the tests of these samples failed to give any results owing to improper and faulty process of sample collections and preservations. We have already informed the state health department at Swasthya Bhaban saying that tests did not show any results,” Dr Dutta had alleged. “Usually, tests show the best results if the stool samples are sent to the laboratory within two hours after their collections.
I doubt whether they have properly followed this very important guideline. Since the health issue is a state subject I can’t make any comment in this regard,” according to the NICED chief. “Surprisingly, the health department as well the Kolkata civic body is indifferent to send stool samples of diarrhoea to our laboratory, which is not only well-equipped but also cater services outside Bengal to find out the presence of cholera and enteric diseases when our experts visit other states as and when asked by health ministry,” she added.