India prepares for spike in dengue cases

Public health officials in the Madurai district in southeastern India have issued a dengue alert in response to an increasing number of fever cases.

The district's leading healthcare institution, Government Rajaji Hospital, has prepared a 14 bed dengue isolation ward for treatment of those with severe cases of the tropical illness, according to TheHindu.com.

"More suspected cases are coming in and it seems dengue is going to trouble this season. Children and aged persons are more prone to this mosquito-borne infection," A. Pragatheswaran, the resident medical officer at GRH, said, TheHindu.com reports.

A total of six dengue cases are currently being treated at the hospital, which is also preparing for an influx of influenza A cases.

"Dengue cases are coming from other places and not Madurai. They are getting admitted in city hospitals but we are prepared to handle any situation,' Latha Freeda Joan, the Madurai district malaria officer, said, TheHindu.com reports.

Public health officials are not calling the recent dengue cases part of a new outbreak in the district. Joan said that it is important to note that surveillance efforts are being bolstered against all seasonal illnesses.

"When we say fever, it is a common term. It can be normal fever or dengue, malaria and chikungunya," Joan said, according to TheHindu.com. "So, blood samples are being collected from suspected cases for proper diagnosis. We are also tracking private hospitals in the district."