By the Editorial Team
In yet another seasonal outbreak of Dengue, many students have taken ill with the viral fever in the past one month. The timing of the dengue attack, falling during the quiz week, could not have been any worse either. While the institute’s marshland and tropical weather are some common reasons cited for the annual outbreak of dengue, many hygiene-related issues have also surfaced in a recent investigation in Narmada hostel.
By far, Narmada has been the worst-hit with at least 10 cases being reported from the hostel. A local investigation, driven by the Warden, Prof. Prasad Patnaik, and Hostel Council members identified an unoccupied room full of stagnant water and breeding mosquito larvae as the likely source. The above said room, according to the Warden and several hostel inmates, is a part of the basement which can be accessed from outside the hostel and the opening to which, faces Quark. Several rooms of this basement are currently being used to house construction contractors and a tentative Hostel Employees Association office. The latter room was found to be empty and logged with 3-4 inches deep water and many mosquito larvae breeding in it.
It may not come as a surprise then, that 10 out 32 people in the two wings surrounding this room in Narmada, have been attacked by dengue. The fact that 2 wings were badly affected and it was not a few isolated cases, strongly indicates the role of poor hygiene in the outbreak of dengue in hostel. The Chief Medical Officer was unreachable for a comment on the exact number of cases reported from Narmada and elsewhere on the campus.
Prof. Patnaik, Narmada’s Warden, has said that several mitigation steps have been started by the hostel administration – from killing the mosquito larvae to clearing the water logging and initiating targeted fumigation. He pointed out though, that the poor hygiene maintained by construction units was out of the hostel administration’s control, making it all the more important that students continue to take necessary precautions. He also added that special cleanup programs will be initiated soon to cleanup the interior of the rooms as well as the hostel surroundings.
While Narmada may have been the worst-hit, other hostels too need to take equally serious preventive measures. Construction junk is aplenty across the campus and especially so, in the hostel zone. It is a matter of concern that while many hostels have had one or two rounds of fumigation, some of the hostels haven’t been fumigated even once. With the new post of Health and Hygiene Secretary being created on the hostel councils, this issue of poor hygiene can, and must be, tackled in effective ways at each hostel level. Needless to say, this can be achieved only with the help and coordination of hostel inmates and institute administration.