After West Nile fever death, Kerala seeks public support for vector control

The Health department is taking all measures for the effective control of West Nile fever with vector control measures strengthened at Kannara in Thrissur district and the surrounding areas, a press release issued by the Health department said here.

A special team from the Thrissur district medical administration had visited Kannara as soon as West Nile fever was suspected and the district vector control unit has collected vector samples from various locations. Vector control activities were launched in and around the house from where the case was reported. Health workers in Vellanikkara CHC have been directed to undertake fever survey, source reduction activities and public awareness measures in the locality.

The public needs to be aware that laxity in vector control measures can lead to the outbreak of many vector-borne diseases other than dengue fever and hence all attention should be diverted to the systematic elimination of mosquitoes through source reduction, the Health department said.

While there is no need for pressing the panic button, all members of the public should actively engage themselves in source reduction activities .

Rarely fatal

Though West Nile fever mimics many other viral fevers, the disease is rarely fatal. However, because of climate change issues, all infectious diseases should be dealt with seriously. Medical care should be sought if there are fever or other symptoms. There is no vaccine against West Nile virus and patient can only be offered supportive care and management.

West Nile fever is spread by culex mosquitoes, which breeds in stagnant waterbodies. Japanese Encephalitis and West Nile viruses belong to the same family of flaviviruses and are zoonotic infections maintained in a cycle involving migratory birds, mammals such as pigs and horses, and the culex species of mosquitoes.

A major presence of West Nile virus in Alappuzha district in the State was first confirmed in 2011 during an outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) when 208 cases were reported . Over 40% of these cases were found to be West Nile. In 2019, a six-year-old boy had died in Malappuram district and West Nile fever had been confirmed in him.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2022 3:30:04 am |