Kochi

1,675 suspected cases of dengue in Ernakulam

Health officials are straddling a double burden as the district has seen a spurt in cases of dengue and leptospirosis this year, even as a strict vigil is required to be maintained over COVID-19 preventive measures.

From January to July 3, as many as 1,675 suspected cases of dengue were recorded with 972 cases in June itself. Of them, 146 were confirmed, according to Vinod Paulose, District Surveillance Officer for non-COVID diseases. Suspected cases could mean cases that are diagnosed using card or antigen tests at hospitals, while confirmed tests are those that are sent to the Ernakulam Public Health Laboratory for confirmation.

In 2019, till July, the district recorded 158 suspected cases and 41 confirmed ones. In 2018, as many as 428 cases were suspected and 32 were confirmed. The last time a large burden of cases was recorded was in 2017, when there were around 1,500 suspected cases.

“Every three years, dengue has a peak, which is an epidemological phenomenon. After a peak in 2017, it is likely to peak this year,” Dr. Paulose said. This year, the pre-monsoon source-reduction activities of eliminating breeding sources that usually begin in April and intensify in May, could not be initiated early enough with the COVID-19-induced lockdown in place, said an official of the vector control unit who did not want to be named. The unit has 39 field staffers who carry out fogging and source-reduction measures, in cooperation with Health officials like Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA).

The eastern belt of the district, where pineapple, cocoa, and areca nut plantations are located, has been hit hardest, including parts of Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam, Varapetty, and Pandappilly, the official said. The house index, which takes into consideration the number of houses out of 100 that have shown the presence of aedes mosquitoes, has gone up to around 23 in some areas within the Kochi Corporation limits as well, such as Pottakuzhi and Elamakkara. A house index figure over 10 is considered high, he added.

Aedes mosquitoes which transmit dengue breed in clean water and are day biters. Source reduction every week is essential to reduce breeding, Dr. Paulose said. Refrigerator trays, containers for plants, and plastic waste could be breeding grounds.

A hundred cases of leptospirosis have also been reported in the district till July, Dr. Poulose said, mostly among people working in marshy areas. Preventive measures like gum boots and gloves for those working in such areas, besides administering doxycycline as a prophylactic, will be essential to combat the number of cases, he added. As many as 41 cases of leptospirosis were reported in 2019.

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Printable version | Oct 30, 2020 12:43:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/1675-suspected-cases-of-dengue-in-ernakulam/article31992049.ece

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