The female aedes aegypti mosquito feeds during the day, says paediatrician
Dengue fever is the hot topic in Madurai now. As fever cases go up, health authorities and the district administration have taken up mosquito control measures on a war-footing especially in the Melur block.
Since the prevention of dengue fever is directly linked to public awareness on eradicating mosquito breeding sources, a paediatrician in Madurai S. Naavarasu has explained the why, when, how and where about dengue so that people can take precautions at home.
Dengue is a mosquito borne febrile viral illness and the infection is spread to humans by ‘aedes aegypti’ mosquito which feed during the day. Rarely is the dengue infection spread by ‘aedes albopictus’ mosquito.
Artificial manmade containers are breeding grounds and sources include flower vases and pots, basins, water jars, discarded items lying in the backyard of house, air-conditioner tray, roof gutters, cisterns and concrete drains. The natural containers where the dengue-causing mosquito breeds are tree holes, bamboo stumps, leaf axils and fallen leaves.
“All these sites require constant inspection and it is advisable to change the water in flower vases on alternate days. We should also turnover all water storage containers,” says Dr. Naavarasu.
He advises that everyone, particularly children who are getting affected, should use long sleeved shirts, shoes and long pants in this season. Mosquito nets, repellents and mosquito coils are highly recommended. Water stagnation must be avoided in and around the house.
“Dengue infection causes illness ranging from relatively mild fever to severe haemorrhage leading to death. Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome needs hospitalisation. Substandard living conditions and lack of vector control measures are among the important causes of dengue infection,” the paediatrician explains.
Aedes aegypti mosquito is adapted to breed around human dwellings.
“Only the female mosquito feeds on blood because they need the protein found in our blood to produce eggs. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar. Aedes are day-biters and are most active during dawn and dusk time,” Dr.Naavarasu said.
One distinct physical feature of aedes mosquito is its black and white stripes on its body and legs. On an average, a female aedes mosquito can lay about 300 eggs during her life span of 14 to 21 days. Adult mosquitoes shelter indoors and bite during one to two hour intervals in the morning and late afternoon. Dengue virus has four distinct serotypes and humans are the main reservoir for dengue virus.