Capital Headed For Dengue Crisis

Dengue Situation in Thiruvananthapuram district likely to be worse than the 2013 outbreak

Dengue fever has reached explosive proportions in the district early in the year, even as mercury levels were climbing, giving rise to fears that the year could see a situation graver than 2013.

In 2013, Thiruvananthapuram district reported 4,192 confirmed dengue cases and five deaths.

Despite the resolve of the Health Department to launch pre-epidemic preparedness activities early, nothing much seems to have been done at the grassroots level.

Most cases from Corpn

Senior health officials pointed out that as always, maximum cases of dengue were being reported from the 52 Corporation wards and the adjoining grama panchayats. Health-related activities in these wards are the sole responsibility of Corporation’s own health workers. But there seems to be a total lack of vector control activities here.

The Health Department’s field workers are working only in 48 Corporation wards in the district, where even though things are far from satisfactory, field-level activities still happen.

Since January, at least three circulars have gone from the Health Department to the district health administration that the geographic location of each dengue case in the district and the control measures launched around each of these cases be reported systematically. No such reports have been filed so far, sources said

“Several high-level meetings have already taken place where in local self-government bodies were asked to launch action plans for epidemic prevention. Since December last, we have been issuing several warnings that the vector indices in the Corporation areas are alarmingly high but there has been no follow-up action. Dengue usually begins to show a spike in May, but already, the district has reported 729 confirmed cases and 920 probable cases of dengue,” K.J. Reena, Additional Director of Health Services (Public Health), said.

Lack of understanding

The public’s lack of understanding about the manner in which the dengue-causing mosquito proliferated and the continuing apathy towards systematic source reduction activities within individual homes were the primary reasons for dengue fever reaching unmanageable proportions.

Dengue vector breeds only in clean, stagnant water and even a small bottle cap or an egg shell with water is enough for the Aedes species to breed. Aedes is a peri-domestic mosquito and hence source reduction should start in individual homes.

Health officials also pointed out that the public should understand that mosquito bites are not be taken lightly and that mosquito repellent creams should be used during the day. If there are mosquitoes around, it is a clear indication that there are breeding grounds near by and source reduction activities should be launched.

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