Navi Mumbai reports spike in dengue cases this year

Dengue cases are on the rise in Navi Mumbai this year, despite the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s (NMMC) claims of having taken all precautionary steps throughout the year, and conducting awareness workshops for citizens. However, cases of malaria are less when compared to the previous year, statistics with the civic body show.

Till October 4 this year, NMMC says it has visited 42,730 houses and collected 408 contact-smears and 2,665 mass-smears. Among the residences visited, 155 had mosquitoes breeding in them. As a precautionary step, 34,567 homes were sprayed with chemicals that inhibit mosquito breeding, while fogging was carried out in 36,911 houses, NMMC officials claimed.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Ankush Chavan said, “We also have distributed pamphlets among residents to not let water accumulate in their homes. Fresh water accumulation is the main reason behind the breeding of dengue-causing mosquitoes. It is very important that the water in pots and drums are emptied every seven days, as it takes a week for larvae to develop into mosquitoes.”

Till October last year, there were 225 cases of malaria reported in Navi Mumbai; this year, the figure is down to 190. There were 21 confirmed cases of dengue out of 433 suspected ones reported till October this year, while only two cases were confirmed last year out of 1,033 suspected cases.

An NMMC health department official said the rise in the number of confirmed dengue cases is because the civic body is making the effort to verify every suspected case. “Last year, we did not follow up till the final test results came in. Once a person was suspected to have dengue, we would start our procedures to not let the disease spread, and would not wait for the confirmation report. This time, we are going a step ahead and getting every suspected case verified. Therefore, the number of positive cases are more this year, but suspected cases are less compared to last year.”

Last week, personnel at the Nerul police station were thown into a tizzy after five officials were suspected to have contracted dengue, but the results that came in a week later said the officials had not tested positive for dengue. In September, NMMC had registered cases against 19 residents of Karave village for failing to take basic measures that prevent mosquitoes from breeding indoors.

Mr. Chavan said, “A patient suspected to have dengue should undergo the ELISA and MAC ELISA tests. Not all suspected cases are positive. Private hospitals conduct a rapid test for dengue, which should not be done. As per the new Government Resolution, we have directed private hospitals on the same. [Results using] The Rapid Diagnostic Kit can, at the most, be an indicator of some form of viral, but not for dengue detection.”

In keeping with the new GR, the public health department has directed private hospitals to not conduct Rapid diagnostic kits to test for dengue. The circular asking private hospitals to not conduct tests using Rapid Diagnostic Kits also caps charges for the ELISA and MAC ELISA tests at Rs. 600. Over 920 private dispensaries and 197 private hospitals fall under NMMC jurisdiction.

The writer is a freelance journalist

Last year, we did not follow up till the final test results came in. We would begin containment measures

Ankush ChavanAdditional Municipal Commissioner, NMMC

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