Do not let mosquitoes breed, households told

The district health administration has pointed out that more than the civic or the health administration, it should be the responsibility of residents to ensure that their own premises are not the breeding grounds of mosquitoes.

At a meeting of construction companies, building contractors, hotel and restaurant owners, and representatives of the residents’ associations in apartments in the city called here by the Corporation and health administration on Saturday, a detailed presentation made by the health officials explained that the current crisis over solid-waste management was only a contributing factor to the increasing burden of dengue fever cases in the city.

“The rotting waste in plastic bags and abandoned plastic articles may be contributing to increased vector breeding. But Aedes mosquitoes are peri-domestic and hence its breeding grounds are essentially within and around a household. In the city, we have often found thriving vector breeding sites inside households — in flower vases, ‘lucky bamboo’ pots, and in the water trays behind refrigerators,” a senior health official pointed out.

In the city, another main ground of vector breeding was the overhead water tanks, most of which would not be covered properly.

Sustained source-reduction measures with community participation could check the vector population. However, there was a lack of involvement of the public and the apathy of the local bodies in taking up vector control initiatives at the local level, it was pointed out.

Officials pointed out that even as they were preparing to launch a massive campaign to promote source-reduction, there were limitations as many residents were wary of letting in strangers into their houses or even into the compound. They pointed out that all ASHA workers had identity cards and they should be allowed access into apartments.

High-rises, it was pointed out, were not immune to mosquito breeding.

The meeting also stressed the need to organise systematic vector and fever surveillance drives around construction sites in the city to check the spread of dengue fever. Construction sites would often have stagnant water on every floor as water used for various purposes during construction remain in stagnant pools, becoming fertile breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.

Officials pointed out how, two years ago, heavy Aedes breeding sites on the seventh floor of a building under construction on the Government Medical College campus had led to a major dengue outbreak within the campus.

Mayor K. Chandrika, Health officer D. Sreekumar, District Medical Officer T. Peethambaran, NRHM District Programme Manager B. Unnikrishnanattended the meeting, among others. A meeting of the representatives of various residents’ associations will be convened again on October 25.