Kolhapur: Blame poor sanitation and hygiene for three-fold rise in dengue cases

Kolhapur, April 7, 2014: The focus on tackling vector-borne diseases this World Health Day is apt for the district that has reported a continuous rise in such ailments over the last few years. There has been a three-fold rise in the number of dengue cases in the last two years. 

Last year, 232 persons were infected as against 68 in 2012. Altogether 113 cases of dengue were reported in 2010. The district health department organized a campaign in 2011, which helped to reduce the number to 12. In 2013, six persons died due to dengue and seven in the preceding year. 

More than 415 people were infected by dengue in the last four years, whereas the number of patients infected with chikungunya and malaria during the same period stood at 108 and 547, respectively. 

District malaria officer G M Gambre admitted that there has been an alarming rise in the number of dengue cases over the last two years. "We are taking precautions and spreading message among people to take preventive measures to stop the spread of disease." 

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue. The viruses are passed on to humans through the bites of an infective female aedes mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. 

These mosquitoes breed in clean water, often stored in overhead tanks or accumulated in scrap tubes and tyres of vehicles for more than a week. Dengue infection rates are higher outdoors and during daytime, when these mosquitoes bite most frequently. 

The medical fraternity attributed the rise in the number of patients to the lack of personal hygiene among people and governments failure to provide basic amenities of proper drainage system and safe drinking water. 

President of the Kolhapur Medical Association (KMA)Anand Kamat said, "The rise in the vector-borne diseases is due to inefficiency of government in providing safe drinking water and proper management of sewage and drainage." 

"Vector-borne diseases spread through organisms that act as carriers of the parasites and pathogens causing the ailment. The most common ailments are malaria and dengue," he said. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the environmental changes in the world are leading to an increase in the breeding of vectors and is a cause of concern for the spread of vector-borne diseases across the globe. 

Medical practitioner Jayant Watve said, "People do not realise the importance of personal hygiene until they fall ill. The spurt in vector-borne diseases is seen during rainy season. The lack of sanitation and access of safe drinking water are major problems in the district especially during the rainy season." He added that patients are advised to keep their surrounding clean and dry. They are also told to avoid storing water in open utensils and consult a doctor immediately in case of fever and muscle and joint pain. 

The district health department will be organising a door-to-door health campaign for a fortnight from April 7-21. The programme will be a part of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) with the slogan 'small creatures, big threat'. 

"District health department employees will visit villages to create awareness about methods to prevent vector-borne diseases," said Gambre. (Source: Vivek Waghmode,TNN)

07-04-2014 | Posted by Admin