PULSE RATE Dengue had infected over 2,500 persons across the State by mid-June

The dark clouds that gathered on Wednesday afternoon were an indication that summer is drawing to a close. Though cooler days are welcome, I couldn’t help thinking that viruses and bacteria will also become active as the temperature dips.

The change in climate brings into focus diseases like diarrhoea, gastritis and gastroenteritis, besides conjunctivitis. These infections spread where hygiene is poor. Viruses and bacteria are known to thrive when the climate is favourable to their breeding. It does not require research to understand that viruses proliferate rapidly when temperature dips and our immunity is compromised.

For a couple of days during early last week, I noticed a bright white patch of bleaching powder around garbage bins in my locality and workers in roadside eateries diligently spraying the powder around the drains where they regularly throw waste. However, this week, it is back to the same situation.

B.R. Ramasubramanian, a Salem-based rehabilitation medicine expert, says it is the job of the local body authorities to keep the area clean. Following several reports of dengue in May, the hottest month of the year, he wrote: “Sanitary inspectors should visit all areas and disinfectants should be used liberally. Water tanks should be covered to prevent breeding of mosquitoes and people should be advised to use mosquito nets.”

Dengue, a viral infection spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, had infected over 2,500 persons across the State by mid-June. The only way to check the spread of the disease is to prevent the mosquito from breeding in your neighbourhood.

On Tuesday, the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital launched a 10-day awareness programme for its doctors, nurses, paramedicals, non-medical staff and patients. Dean V. Kanagasabai said the aim is to impart information and raise awareness in order to prevent the infection. Though the State Health Department has repeatedly allayed fears about the flu’s impact, it would do well to beware of the A (H1N1) virus. So far this year, over 200 persons have tested positive for the flu. For more details about the flu and treatment, the 24-hour helpline can be contacted on 044-24350496.

So, as you gear up for cooler days, remember that simple measures like covering water tanks, disposing unwanted tyres and coconut shells, disinfecting homes and maintaining a clean environ will go a long way in preventing infectious diseases.

Keywords: denguevirusbacteria

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012