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Updated: June 17, 2013 13:26 IST

Dengue threat looms large in Madurai

Shastry V. Mallady
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Coconut shells are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. A scene near the Race Course area, Madurai. Photo: S. James
The Hindu Coconut shells are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. A scene near the Race Course area, Madurai. Photo: S. James

According to a survey undertaken by the Municipal Corporation, 20 places in the city are vulnerable to outbreak of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.

A recent pre-monsoon entomological survey has revealed that 20 places in the city are vulnerable to the outbreak of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.

While the survey in the city was undertaken by the Municipal Corporation, on-the-spot investigations in other places in the district were conducted by the State unit of the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), which, in its report, has put Melur as “most vulnerable” to vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and malaria.

The health wing of the Corporation has swung into action to prevent dengue outbreak and purge mosquito breeding sources across the city. Places which have been put on alert in Madurai include Avaniapuram, Uthangudi, Vilangudi, Reserve Line, K. Pudur, Sellur, Bibikulam, Thathaneri, and Jaihindpuram.

“We have conducted sensitisation programmes for medical officers, sanitary inspectors and health nurses. As such, there is no threat of a dengue outbreak, but there has to be a constant fever surveillance in hot spots that have been identified by us, as they are thickly populated,” Yasodha Mani, City Health Officer, Madurai Corporation, said on Saturday.

She said that awareness programmes on prevention of dengue and right methods of drinking water storage will be conducted in schools to drive home the message in an effective manner. According to her, only 10 dengue-positive cases were reported in the last six months in the city, even though suspected cases have been reported from various parts of Madurai district.

R.Varadharajan, senior entomologist, whose team is aiding the fever surveillance, has claimed that mosquito control activities were being taken up regularly in all wards. Eight mounted fogging machines had been deployed to cover 16 wards a day. Also, there were 24 hand fogging units used for source reduction in residential areas. “As far as dengue is concerned, every family must cooperate in its prevention. In these days of water scarcity, it is very important on how you store water. Dengue-causing vector thrives in clean water and we have to be doubly cautious,” he said.

Threat in Melur

Meanwhile, IPHA State president S. Elango, who led a team to the Melur block for the pre-monsoon entomological survey on June 13, said that the mosquito breeding sites there were posing a threat once again. “There should not be a repeat of what happened last year in Melur. The municipality and health department have to chalk out preventive strategies quickly before mosquitoes multiply in Melur,” he said. The study was done in Melur, Therkutheru, hamlets on Melur-Sivaganga Road, and Karungalakudi.

Dr. Elango said that even though there was good improvement in sanitation and upkeep, there were still some places such as granite quarries which had become hot spots for mosquito breeding. “Anti-larval and anti-mosquito operations must be a continuous exercise. Water containers, unused utensils, tyres, and coconut shells must be checked to prevent mosquito-breeding. Till October, when the monsoon ends, Melur area should be kept under scrutiny,” he added.

Meanwhile, private hospitals in the city continued to get dengue fever cases in the recent weeks. For instance, the Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre (MMHRC) has been getting about three dengue positive cases a day.

“More cases are coming in from Ramanathapuram and Theni districts. There is no mortality, but children and old people will be the target groups, as they are susceptible to dengue,” said A. Kannan, Head of Paediatrics, MMHRC.

He said that dengue fever was caused by mosquito bites during daytime while malaria causing mosquitoes were active at night.

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