As public health machinery gears up for the World Health Day that falls on Monday (April 7), the focus is on preventing vector-borne diseases. This year’s theme will be ‘Small bites, big threat’, as cautioned by World Health Organisation (WHO).

The alert is mainly for four diseases which are caused by mosquito bite — dengue, chikungunya, malaria and Japanese encephalitis.

Explaining the basis for this year’s theme, S. Elango, State president of Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), said the WHO was cautioning countries since there was a threat of redistribution of disease-causing vectors with change in their geographical concentration due to climate change.

“Increase in temperature changes the mosquito dynamics significantly. A small mosquito bite will indeed become a big threat. How to prevent it and protect ourselves from vector-borne diseases needs special attention,” he told The Hindu on Sunday.

Dr. Elango said mosquito production and density would increase rapidly when temperature rose.

“We have to survive along with mosquitoes, but at the same time preventing diseases calls for a holistic plan by the Health Department,” he said.

Stating that every region in the State had its own public health challenges, he said effective vaccination and surveillance held the key to prevent outbreak of diseases.

“The WHO advises that any fever, especially among children, must be treated as if it is dengue fever. That is the norm because dengue fever could be fatal,” said Dr. Elango, who was the Director of Public Health in the State.

Hence, the IPHA, Tamil Nadu Chapter, appealed to entomologists and public health officials to be on alert.

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