With the monsoon comes the threat of vector-borne diseases, especially malaria and dengue.
To this end, the Greater Chennai Corporation has taken steps to control the spread of these diseases such as fumigation and inspection of potential mosquito-breeding grounds.
According to the World Health Organisation, vector-borne diseases account for 17% of all infectious diseases, causing over 7,00,000 deaths annually. Through community stabilisation and protective methods, these diseases can be prevented and managed, civic officials here said.
The Corporation has requested the public to cooperate with its staff during door-to-door inspection to prevent the outbreak of dengue fever in the city. A survey of 10,97,632 houses was conducted. Of these, 9,117 houses were found to be breeding sites for mosquitoes.
According to an official, the fog sprayed contained pyrethrum extract that had proved to be effective. Studies showed that this chemical had low mammalian toxicity and low persistence in the environment, he said.
A total of 3,271 workers, including 954 permanent mosquito control workers and 2,317 contract workers, have been deployed in 2,084 circles to improve efficiency. The machinery used by the Corporation ranged from battery-operated sprayers, hand-operated fumigators and equipment mounted on vehicles.
Fumigation of streets and public places usually was done once a week between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Inspection of open wells, overhead water tanks, construction sites and vacant slots was being carried out to destroy breeding grounds. The Corporation personnel have started spraying mosquito repellent on the water channels and drains.
In a press release, the Corporation has asked the public to remove anything in which rainwater could accumulate, including tyres and broken jugs. “Through these techniques we have ensured that disease numbers are either decreasing or stable”, said a Corporation official.
In a manual released in 2015 on Integrated Vector Management, the Directorate of National Vector Borne Diseases Programme, the nodal agency for the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases, details entomological techniques, information on insecticides and equipment and other related material. The manual acted as a guide to district and State-level agencies in controlling these diseases.