The Kerala government today said 420 people died and over 22 lakh persons were affected by various kinds of fever in the state since January. Health Minister K K Shylaja informed the state Assembly that of the total deaths due to fever, 74 people died due to H1N1 and 24 persons to dengue. Replying to a notice seeking adjournment motion by Congress-led UDF opposition over the issue, she said climate change and unprecedented variations in temperature level were among reasons that caused the fever to spread. "As per government figures, over 22 lakh people have been affected by viral fever in the state during the period.
As many as 420 people succumbed to fever across the state," she said. But with effective steps taken, things are now under control, the minister said. However, disputing the official figures on people affected by fever and deaths caused, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (Cong) alleged that over 1000 people had died and a whopping 50 lakh people had sought treatment for fever in various hospitals, including private ones, in the state. The situation in the state was so grave that it even warranted the declaration of "health emergency," UDF members said and walked out of the House when Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan declined leave for debate over the issue. The Health minister said besides H1N1 and dengue, rat fever and cholera have also been reported in the state. A cholera death was reported in Pathanamthitta district and three cholera cases had been detected among migrant labourers in Kozhikode, she said. However, no case of monkey fever, which used to be prevalent during the monsoon season in earlier years, was reported in Kerala this year, Shylaja added. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the government had failed to take up any pre-monsoon sanitation drive and that led to the spurt in fever cases in the state. If necessary, the state should seek the assistance of medical experts from the Centre to tackle the situation, he said. "Health Emergency should be declared in the state as the situation is grave," Chennithala said.
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