"The team will come tomorrow and visit different parts of the affected Dhalai and North Tripura districts, see patients and collect samples, and also visit primary health centres and health sub-centres," state health minister Badal Chowdhury told reporters here.

He said the rise in cases of malaria and water borne diseases was reported from Longtraivalley and Gandacherra sub-divisions in Dhalai district and Kanchanpur sub-division in North Tripura in past few weeks.

Asked about the probable reasons of the outbreak, the minister said with receding water levels in streams and water bodies in the winter, villagers were often found to use poison and chemicals in the river water for easy catch of fishes.

"Surface water from rivers is used as primary source in the drinking water treatment plants. Use of poison or chemicals in the river water might be one of the reasons," Chowdhury added.

Six water treatment plants were functional in Longtraivalley sub-division alone where the attacks were reported intensive, he said.
The minister, however, denied the situation to be serious and said malaria and water borne diseases were found to increase in the areas during winters every year.     

"We had similar experience over the past two decades," he said adding the department took all necessary precautions to contain any large scale escalation of the situation.

"We met officials of the local administration ranging from District Magistrates and Sub-Divisional Magistrates to our health care officials including Sub-Divisional Medical officers (SDMO) and Medical Officer in-charge (MOIC) in all major blocks where attacks were detected and officials were instructed to make sure everything was in place," Chowdhury said.

Over 98 malaria deaths were reported in Tripura earlier this year, one of the worst malaria outbreaks in the region.

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