Dengue fever is not new to the state, rather every year around this season, there are a number of cases of dengue fever reported. However, this year, there seems to have been a rather large spike in the number of cases of dengue fever seen in Karnataka, with particular focus on an increase in the number of dengue fever cases reported in Bengaluru alone. Despite several awareness measures being taken, what is contributing to the rise of cases of dengue?
As per the data released by the Government of Karnataka’s Health and Family Welfare services, the number of cases of dengue in Bengaluru alone from January to June was 531. However, as of Saturday, this number has shot up to 1830. The number of dengue cases reported since the start of the year in the entire state has been estimated to be over 3000.
“While some amount of public awareness has been raised, there are still several people who come in without a basic understanding of what dengue is or how it can be prevented. We get several patients who present with symptoms of viral fever or dengue fever each week, a significant number of them come in after having presented with fever for a number of days,” said one official from Victoria Hospital on the condition of anonymity. The official further alleged that the BBMP had not taken enough precautions to reduce the number of cases of dengue.
This is an opinion which several personnel from the public healthcare sector seem to echo.
Another official TNM spoke to stated that while awareness measures had been taken, not enough effort had gone into clearing garbage and waste around the city, which may have led to the spike in the number of cases.
“This is not the first time that a disease has spread excessively because of trash that was not properly collected or disposed of. The BBMP should have stepped up its efforts to curb the waste and planned accordingly. Accumulation of such waste leads to more breeding of mosquitoes and that in turn can spread a number of diseases like dengue,” added the official.
Bengaluru’s garbage crisis has been reported on and spoken about for several years now, with several reports noting how toxic the garbage accumulation can be to health.
TNM spoke to Dr Manjunath Hegde, Chief Health Officer (CHO) at the BBMP to find out what the BBMP is doing in this regard.
“The problem is that people also need to do their part, we do undertake the efforts to create awareness about the issue and inform people about the preventive measures, however when there is lack of compliance on the public’s part, it becomes difficult,” he said. Furthermore, he added that the BBMP has ensured that all areas in the city are being fumigated to curb the breeding of mosquitoes. When questioned about the garbage issue, however, he merely stated that the BBMP was taking the efforts to clear problematic areas.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by one of the five major serotypes (or strains) of the dengue virus. The virus is spread to humans via mosquito bites. Symptoms of the fever typically set in anywhere from three days to two weeks of being exposed to the virus. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain (classical indication which leads doctors to suspect dengue), while headaches, myalgia (muscle pain) and general fatigue can also be seen in those presenting with the disease.