Thiruvananthapuram: Despite a number of fevers quickly spreading throughout Kerala, among them the feared dengue and H1N1, doctors in the state have decided to go ahead with a ‘non-cooperation’ strike.

Their protest is against the move to create a new medical college by integrating the activities of the General Hospital and the government hospital at Thycaud in the capital city. The doctors have, however, clarified that they will examine patients as usual.

The protest is piloted by the Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association, which feels that the move to convert some hospitals into medical colleges will only adversely affect the health sector.

State health minister VS Sivakumar has appealed to the doctors to stop the strike. His appeal comes against the backdrop of an alarming increase in the number of patients afflicted with various fevers. Reports say nearly 2,000 people may have been affected by dengue, and there have been more than 20 deaths due to dengue in a fortnight.

The ‘non-cooperation’ strike is expected to cripple several health-sector initiatives for the season, including disease prevention camps, visits to the areas severely affected by diseases, and even the conferences of district medical officers.

Adding to the general alarm regarding the spread of various diseases, the state has also reported the season’s first death due to the H1N1 virus, in Kollam district. Over the last two days, some 60 cases of dengue were reported in different districts.

Among the districts most affected by various fevers are Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam, and local media has featured local hospital scenes where general wards are overflowing with patients.