With the rains still lashing parts of the country, diseases which are usually seen during this time are being reported. With 90 people afflicted with dengue in Chennai as of Saturday, officials are increasing awareness measures and asking people to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
“Compared to last year, we are seeing an increase in the number of dengue fever cases by 8 to 9%. For example, last September, we saw 80 people with dengue, this year 90 cases we have confirmed (in Chennai),” stated Deputy Commissioner of Health Madhusudan P Reddy to reporters.
The state has been seeing intermittent episodes of rain, which officials say is causing the spike in number of dengue fever cases.
“It is not just the rain, we know that the season brings with it plenty of diseases that we have to prepare for and take precautions against. However, what we are noticing is that despite all the preventive measures we are implementing, people too need to take the initiative to keep dengue and other diseases at bay,” says Director of Public Health (DPH) Dr K Kolandaswamy.
Health officials, who have been taking part in awareness campaigns to ensure that people know how to keep mosquito-borne illnesses at bay, have stated that many people do not implement the methods which are taught to them.
“At this point, most of the public knows that dengue and malaria are caused by mosquitoes. We have also provided them with the information which will help keep the mosquito population under control, yet the number of people who actually put this information to use are very few,” adds the DPH.
He says that several people end up storing unnecessary containers and boxes in their homes, thinking they may be of use at a later time.
“However, many of these things end up piling up around the house and contribute to the rising mosquito population. Some of the houses which were painted maybe even years ago, we noticed that they kept the empty paint containers on their terraces or around the house. In other places, people were keeping a lot of unnecessary empty cardboard boxes around. Despite repeatedly informing people, they don’t seem to take it seriously,” he adds.
Dengue fever is one of several mosquito-borne diseases seen during the monsoons. It is caused by one of five strains of the dengue virus, the carrier of which is the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The most common symptoms of dengue are high grade fever, joint pain, muscle pain and general fatigue. There is no vaccine against the dengue virus and treatment largely remains on supportive measures to control the symptoms an individual may have.