Steps on to prevent dengue outbreak

Staff Reporter

Surveillance meet discusses situation

Five to 15 cases reported from district each day

Source-reduction activities to be encouraged

Thiruvananthapuram: The district health administration and the City Corporation have started taking control measures to check the increasing incidence of dengue fever in the district. Five to 15 cases of dengue are being reported from various parts of the district on a daily basis now.

While there has been no outbreak as such, cases are being reported in large numbers typically from the areas within the Corporation limits and also from Malayinkeezh and Vilappil, in particular.

The total number of dengue fever cases reported this year in the district till Tuesday was 447. Though dengue incidence is usually low during the months of November-December, the rain in the first two weeks of December had led to the spurt in dengue fever, health officials said.

A disease surveillance meeting held last week had decided to intensify fogging and spraying activities and to encourage source reduction. In rural areas, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) were engaged in vector-control activities while in urban areas, people are apathetic to such activities and expect the civic authorities to handle everything, officials said.

From last year, ward-level health and sanitation funds given by the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) were being distributed to the wards in the Corporation area also. The authorities have decided to disburse the fund again to intensify control activities.

The Corporation has launched vector-control activities utilising a new fogging machine. The District Medical Officer said more fogging and spraying machines were being purchased.

The disease is essentially an urban phenomenon, given the breeding nature of the vector spreading it, the Aedes Aegypti species of mosquitoes.

Aedes is a peri-domestic species and its breeding grounds are around individual households. Health officials pointed out that source-reduction activities should thus be focused around households. The civic authorities can do general fogging and spraying activities, aimed at controlling adult mosquitoes, but the key to mosquito control is the source- reduction activities that individuals should launch on a weekly basis in and around their houses.

Dengue fever is endemic in the district and for the past few years, nearly 70 per cent of all dengue cases in the State are being reported from Thiruvananthapuram, especially from Corporation areas. Dengue cases are reported throughout the year in the district as most urban houses have overhead water tanks, most of which might not be lidded tightly and provide breeding grounds for the species.

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