Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha Public Health Directorate on Sunday asked all the Chief District Medical Officers, Superintendents of government medical colleges to ramp up surveillance of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) in their respective areas.

The government wrote a letter in this regard keeping in view the recent surge in the number of respiratory illness cases in Odisha.

In the letter, the Public Health Director wrote, "There is an increase trend in number of ILI/ SARI cases and a few deaths have also been reported from certain parts of the country. With a view to curb the spread of infection further and to avoid another wave of Covid 19, we have to act in a focused manner."

The department laid out a detailed point-wise roadmap for the districts to follow:

• Promotion of early reporting of respiratory illnesses and limiting the number of contacts of suspects and collection of such data from sub-district level health care facilities through IDSP — IHIP portal.

• Increase in ILI/ SARI surveillance, monitor the proportion of SARI cases among ARI cases and refer appropriate samples for testing of Covidl9 as per ICMR protocol.

• Continue the fever clinic with provision of Covid testing.

• Follow scrupulously the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to Covid appropriate-behaviour with a strict watch on rise of Covid cases.

• To send the samples which are Covid negative, not responding to symptomatic treatment and are deteriorating further to RMRC, Bhubaneswar for additional testing of viral respiratory pathogens like AH1N1, H3N2, Adenovirus etc.

• CDM & PHO can procure test kits for RTPCR testing of Influenza A from available permissible fund for which microbiologist can give the requirement.

• Increase the awareness in community regarding COVID-appropriate behaviour on respiratory and hand hygiene, by involving local electronic and print media and spread message on Dos and Don'ts in suspected H3N2 infection as communicated.

• To monitor the preparedness status regularly and to verify the stocks of drugs, logistics, other consumables, Oxygen availability and ICU status periodically.

• The data should be regularly updated to State IDSP Cell.

"The district administrations have been directed to increase the surveillance of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI). They have also been instructed to continue the fever clinics. Covid test is a must, because people are thinking it to be normal influenza, and Covid may creep in," said Public Health Director, Dr Niranjan Mishra.

Capital Hospital Deputy Superintendent, Dr Dhananjay Das said, "There is nothing to panic provided you follow all the safety protocols. People should use masks and maintain social distancing as they were doing earlier during Covid times."

(Reported By Prabhat Bisoi, Harihar Chand & Kapilendra Pradhan, OTV)