The BBMP’s (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) Public Health Information and Epidemiological Cell (PHIEC) report reveals that in five months, the city has recorded 383 cases of dengue. East Bengaluru, Mahadevpura, South Bengaluru and Bommanahalli are the four most affected areas.
May 16th is observed as National Dengue Day, and this initiative was recommended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India to create awareness and improve the preventive measures and preparedness ahead of the transmission season. In a tropical country like India, dengue is rampant; in 2017, Karnataka observed 17,844 cases making it the third highest state with dengue cases.
According to Department of Health and Family Welfare, 29 cases of dengue have been recorded in the first nine days of May. With the growing number of unattended sodden garbage heaps, countless water puddles and damaged roads, diseases like dengue and chikungunya are here to stay.
Chief Health Officer of BBMP, DR Manoranjan Hegde, said that “the BBMP commissioner conducted a meeting with the engineering department, department of health, education and road and infrastructure teams on May 15. He has given SWM (Solid Waste Management) department instructions to remove all disposed containers, coconut shells, cups etc. and has directed the engineering department to remove silt and other objects that can potentially stagnate water”.
When asked about the reason behind the growing number of dengue cases within BBMP limits, he said that intermittent rains are one of the major factors for the spike in dengue cases.
Dr Hegde told TNM that “The BBMP has appointed teams of workers to conduct survey and check for breeding places. They are also trained to raise awareness among public regarding mosquito breeding and symptoms of fever”.
A similar pattern was observed in 2018 with 1,544 cases, while in 2017, a whopping 7,291 cases were registered.
Dengue is caused by a virus DENV, 1-4 stereotypes. This disease is spread by the bite of a vector mosquito Aedes aegypti, infected with any one of the four viruses. This dark mosquito with white streak can populate in natural habitats by laying eggs in common spots of stagnant water accumulation like tubs, tins, flower pots, rubber tyres, unused grinding stone, paper cups, coconut shells etc. Lack of proper garbage collection and reliable sanitation is one of the major causes for the spread of this virus.
The female Aedes aegypti buzzes mostly between 8am to 9am and again about two hours before sunset i.e. between 5pm to 6pm. The virus flourishes when the day is hot and humidity is high, making the mosquito a “day feeder”.
The disease is asymptomatic i.e. the infected person shows no clinical signs and symptoms of the disease. Once a person gets bitten, there is an incubation time of 4-10 days after which flu-like symptoms appear. Symptoms include 104 degrees Farenheit fever accompanied by severe headaches, aching behind the eyes, tired muscles and joints, nausea, vomiting, glandular swelling and rashes. It is difficult to distinguish dengue fever from regular fevers, thus it is advisable to get blood tests done.
Dengue can be confirmed when the patient’s blood platelet level drops below 50,000 microlitre or when there is an increase in blood haematocrit level.
Dengue can also infect an individual more than once. There are four strains of the virus (DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3, and DENV 4).
Precautions to take
It is critical to take proper measures to keep the virus at bay. Some measures are:
- Remove any source of stagnant water
- Use larvicides in water containers that cannot be emptied
- Wear loose full-sleeved shirts, full pants and socks during monsoon
- Avoid using scented soaps and perfumes as it attracts mosquitos
- Keep all containers at home covered
- Keep wet garbage separate and covered
- Ensure that all doors and windows are closed before 5pm
- Use mosquito repellent and mosquito nets while sleeping
- Keep the dengue patient safe and protected from further mosquito bites to prevent further spread of the virus.