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Dengue infection among tribal population in the Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India

1 ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre Field Station, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry, India
3 ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
P Philip Samuel,
Scientist C, ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre Field Station, Department of Health Research,4, Sarojini Street, Chinnachokkikulam, Madurai-625002, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.328973

Background & objectives: Dengue emerged as an important public health problem in Tamil Nadu from 2000 onwards, reported in all the districts as an endemic disease of Tamil Nadu except Nilgiris district. So this study was carried out to understand the dengue epidemiology in Nilgiris district. Methods: Block wise study was made at the Nilgiris district. The clinicians at the Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association hospitals (NAWA) situated in Kotagiri, Kozhikarai and Primary Health Centers from Kunjpannai, Arayoor, and Soloor Mattam, examined and recorded symptoms and collected blood samples from the dengue-suspected patients. These samples were centrifuged at 4΀C and stored. Serum samples (267 nos.) collected from dengue-suspected patients for two years period from 2014 to 2016 were screened for dengue infection. Results: First year study conducted during 2014-15 showed 13 dengue positives (8.39%) mainly from Kotagiri block (9 nos. - 69.2%) and the second year study conducted during 2015-16 showed 12 dengue positives (10.71%) found mostly from Udagamandalam block (6 nos.- 50%). People belonging to 6 different tribes - Irular, Toda, Kota, Kurumba, Kattunaickan, and Paniya were found infected with dengue and more Irular positives were recorded in both the years (5 Irular-2014-15 & 11 Irular -2015-16). First year detected more female positives (92.3%) whereas the second year showed 5 males (41.7%) and 7 females (58.3%). Interpretation & conclusion: This study unearthed the hidden disease dengue prevalent among the tribal community and emphasized the need for the establishment of a permanent dengue surveillance system with improved disease diagnostics, to initiate effective vector control efforts to stop dengue transmission from this hilly region.

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