Mosquito the menace

With no official warning yet on vector-borne diseases, the city registers a steady increase in the number of cases

It’s back despite Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘reassuring’ tweets — “Delhi will be made mosquito-free. We will have to get rid of mosquito-borne diseases. It will be made a people’s movement. It’s only possible with people’s participation”.

Nearly 100 cases of chikungunya have already been reported in Delhi this year, with 10 of them recorded in May-June. Of the 96 cases reported, 8 were recorded in May, 19 in April, 34 in March, 13 in February and 20 in January. Eight dengue cases were reported in May, according to a report by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which tabulates data on behalf of all civic bodies in the Capital.

Bite back
  • Here are some tips on how to keep yourself safe
  • Use mosquito nets
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to avoid being bitten. Avoid dark-coloured clothes as they attract mosquitoes
  • Don't use mosquito repellents on children below two months of age. Use insect repellents containing 10% DEET on children older than two months
  • Don't apply mosquito repellent on your palms, or near your eyes and mouth
  • If you have any of the symptoms associated with vector-borne diseases, rest and drink lots of water
  • In case high fever lasts more than 24 hours, visit the doctor
  • Keep your surroundings clean, make sure there is no waste or stagnant water near your home

CM chairs meeting

Amid the rising number of cases, Mr. Kejriwal chaired a meeting with officers from the three civic bodies and the Delhi government. The meeting discussed plans to prevent spread of vector-borne diseases.

“We have also written to Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda requesting him to reserve 10% of beds in Central government-run hospitals here for treatment of dengue and chikungunya patients, ” said a Delhi government health official.

In addition, Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal had on April 29 directed the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Hospital to keep beds ready for patients in the event of an outbreak of vector-borne diseases.

Community participation

Indian Medical Association president K. K. Aggarwal said: ”The number of dengue and chikungunya cases in Delhi so far is a matter of great concern. We must all agree that we have collectively failed in controlling the mosquito menace. Consequently, Delhi today is seeing an increasing number of dengue and malaria patients. This is collective failure on the part of the Delhi and Central governments, the municipal corporations, the L-G Office, medical associations, CSR departments, media, non-government organisations and the private sector. Dengue is preventable and the very first step towards this is its management. However, to make this possible, community participation is a must. ”

The doctors said only two chikungunya cases and no dengue case were reported till January 14. Cases of chikungunya and dengue had tapered off by the first week of December, ending the vector-borne disease season in the city that witnessed its worst chikungunya outbreak in a decade. With cases on the rise again, doctors are worried the situation may worsen after monsoon.

Season starts mid-July

In one of the worst outbreaks, 12,221 chikungunya cases were reported in Delhi till December 24, 2016. Of these, 9,749 tested positive. The season for such diseases begins mid-July and general ly lasts till November-end.

“Cases of dengue and chikungunya have started again in Delhi. Unfortunately, no official alert has been issued so far. We collectively failed last year to control mosquito menace. The mosquito container index [the percentage of water-holding containers infested with larvae or pupae] in Delhi is over 5%. The number had crossed 40% last year. Any index above 5% requires a community-integrated cluster approach to reduce mosquito density along with effective anti-larval measures,” noted Anil Bansal of the Delhi Medical Association.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:44:26 PM |

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