Dengue, chikungunya on high rise: Tips to prevent these viral diseases

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : Delhi, the capital city of India records highest number of dengue and chikungunya cases in the country, almost every year. From 2014 to 2015, the city witnessed 16,000 cases of the dengue fever with 60 odd deaths, and in 2016, 500 dengue cases and 12221 chikungunya cases with 20 deaths. Record says that there is a rise of this epidemic problem and immediate action needs to be taken before the breeding season which starts soon after monsoon. 

A latest report by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which gathers data for all the three corporations from Delhi, states that between January 1 and June 17, 105 cases of chikungunya, 50 cases of dengue and 59 cases of malaria have been reported, last year. Experts say that Delhi could see even worse than last year’s outbreak on dengue and chikungunya.

In the same period on 2017, zero cases of chikungunya, five of dengue and 38 cases of malaria were reported. In fact, the figures this year are higher than the trends since 2013, when only one case of chikungunya was reported between January 1 and June 17.

Mosquito breeding generally soars high in September soon after the monsoon and reaches its peak in October-November. Health experts explained that once the temperature dips leading to damp weather, the stagnant water in drains and any water stored in the household bathrooms, kitchens and coolers, the virus scatters. This indicates that we might face higher number of dengue and chikungunya cases throughout the year and there might be great chances of higher fatalities.

To get rid of mosquito-borne viral disease this time, the Union health ministry have adopted three strategies, mentioned below:

All the civic and local bodies have been asked to identify breeding spots and control them. All MCDs have been directed to submit weekly reports on the preventive actions taken.

Use of fumigate to destroy mosquito-genic conditions

All the government hospitals in Delhi have been assigned with 750 beds dedicated for dengue and chikungunya patients. Also, private hospitals, dispensaries and clinics have been asked to increase 10 per cent beds.

Dr Jagdish Prasad, director general of health service (DGHS) at the Union health ministry says, “It was the failure of civic bodies and the Delhi government who are entrusted with managing vector-borne diseases. Citing the latest statistics, they fear the worst dengue and chikungunya outbreak in Delhi so far. The Centre has written to the Delhi government over its preparedness before it assumes epidemic proportions.”

“The season for vector-borne diseases begins from mid-July and generally lasts till November-end, but still the cases are seen in alarming propositions in the summer months which should not happen and shows lack of preparedness,” he added.

Apart from all the aforesaid measures being taken by the government to tackle life threatening diseases, it is necessary to create awareness among the people at the grass root level. Campaigns, hoarding, print and electronic advertisements may act as powerful tool to inform people about the cause of dengue and chikungunya so that proper measures can be taken on time.