22 cases were reported on Friday. Only laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease are termed as statistics with the Health Department

Dengue fever has yet again begun to take a grip on the city with the increase in rainfall. Fever cases had been going up in many parts of the city in the past few days since the onset of the monsoon. While only two to four cases of dengue were reported in the district on a daily basis, on Friday, the district health administration's dengue toll for the day stood at 22.

Predictably, 18 out of these 22 cases were from Corporation wards while the rest were scattered cases from the periphery.

Only laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease end up as statistics with the Health Department. Fever cases clinically suspected as dengue could be much more and these do not figure in official reports. Case-reporting from private hospitals also has not been done properly, with the result that the actual number of cases of dengue is anybody's guess.

However, Health officials point out that the dengue figures do not really matter. What matters is how well the cases are managed.

“The last dengue epidemic in 2003 in the district reported 785 cases with at least nine confirmed dengue deaths. Since then, every year, we have had nearly 1,000 cases of dengue on an average, but few or no deaths at all. Our doctors have become extremely adept at recognising the symptoms well and managing the disease,” a senior Health official said.

The Health Department has brought out and disseminated across hospitals, clear dengue management protocols .Almost 70 per cent of the dengue cases reported in the State are from the district. This is probably because the district has better diagnostic facilities and a more robust reporting system.

Aedes Aegypti, the main incriminating vector, is an urban, peri-domestic mosquito, which breeds in and around houses in small pools of stagnant fresh or rainwater collected in receptacles such as coconut shells, flower pots, egg shells or discarded plastic vessels and tyres.

Rather than in public places, it is households which become the main breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquitoes.

Across the State, the diseases transmitted by Aedes species of mosquitoes start going up at the peak of the dry season in areas of water shortage.

Aedes breeding thrives in overhead tanks and water storage containers in these areas. Vector-control measures during this season could be quite effective. However, once the rain starts, control measures have its own limitations because the hatch-out rate of mosquitoes goes up several-fold.

A few local outbreaks might be within control through human efforts but in a larger perspective, most of the outbreaks will run its natural course through the season.

Dengue has been declared endemic in the district since the past few years and cases are now reported throughout the season.

Even though the health and civic administration has intensified vector-control measures across the district, measures taken in individual households to prevent rainwater stagnation and check vector breeding are more important to prevent dengue outbreaks, public health experts pointed out.