Patna: A fortnight after heavy rains flooded Bihar’s capital Patna, forcing the population indoors for close to 10 days, dengue has now struck the city.

Health officials said the mosquito-borne tropical disease has proliferated since a large part of the city remained under heavy waterlogging. At present, around 60 localities are under the grip of dengue fever, causing panic among residents.

The seriousness of the situation is gauged from the fact that of the total 1,404 cases of dengue reported from across the state, 1,135 have been reported from Patna. In the past three days alone, around 500 cases have been reported from the state capital during free health camps organised at 26 locations in Patna.

“We are very much [aware of] the current situation and are initiating every measure to prevent the spread of the disease. There is nothing to panic as such,” Bihar Health Secretary Sanjay Kumar told the media, adding that the health department had launched campaigns to prevent it from developing into an epidemic.

Health officials said indoor residual spraying was being conducted in affected areas, for which 24 teams have been engaged. Apart from this, bleach power is being sprayed and distributed. So far, 35,000 packets of bleach powder have been handed out.

The local administration has asked students to come to school in long-sleeved shirts and trousers instead of the usual school uniform of shorts/skirts and short-sleeved shirts. The new order comes into effect from October 14.

“We have issued instructions asking the children to attend classes in full sleeve shirts and trousers to prevent them from dengue,” Patna district magistrate Kumar Ravi told the media on Sunday.

The district magistrate has also asked school principals to keep the areas around the schools clean and spray insecticides on stagnant water. Doctors treating dengue patients said most of the cases were reported from areas that witnessed heavy waterlogging in Patna caused by incessant rains.

More than 12 localities of Patna remained under waist-deep to neck-deep water for about 10 days after rains lashed the state capital in the last week of September.

Even a fortnight after the rains, many areas still remain waterlogged and in localities such as Gola Road, people are still using boats to leave their flooded homes. The stagnant water is now serving as an ideal breeding ground of Aedes mosquitoes, which spreads the dengue virus.