CHENNAI: Dengue kept health department officials on their toes last year. The fear is back, with the disease already claiming one life this year. Till April 29, the State has reported 1,451 cases, according to the data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme of Union Health Ministry.
Taking note of the situation, the government has started early and has launched preventive measures. Speaking to Express, Director of Public Health K Kolandaswamy said, “We have again hired workers. Fogging and larvae control activities are on. There is no outbreak and we are closely monitoring the situation.”
As May 16 is observed as Anti-Dengue Day, the government will organise mass cleaning drive, awareness programme and mosquito eradication activities, the official said.
Kolandaswamy also said the Directorate of Public Health is continuing the study to detect dengue virus in mosquitoes itself.
At the moment, the presence of virus is detected only after cases in humans are reported. As the pattern of transmission of the virus is human-to-mosquito-to-human, human cases reveal the presence of infected Aedes mosquitoes.
“This study will help to detect the virus in infected mosquitoes before it could pass on the infection to humans. By this, we are containing the infection before human transmission,” he said.
However, in some places, there will not be human cases as yet, but the infected adult mosquito would have passed on the infection to a large number of eggs she lays, called transovarial transmission.
Mosquitoes from various parts of the State will be tested at the Institute of Vector Control and Zoonoses at Hosur in Krishnagiri district. The Directorate of Public Health in Chennai will check whether they are carrying the dreaded virus.
“Earlier, dengue cases were seen only during rainy season, but now the pattern has changed. There are cases almost throughout the year, but still the government is stopping control measures once the cases come down,” said a worker from Villupuram engaged in mosquito control measures.
Health department officials have requested people to keep their surroundings clean.
The Big Bite
■ A viral disease, dengue is transmitted by the infectious bite of Aedes Aegypti mosquito
■ Mosquito can be easily distinguished as it is larger in size and have black and white stripes on its body
■ They breed in artificial accumulation of fresh water, such as broken bottles, tins, flower pots, coconut shells, tree holes, tyres and tubes
■ Humans develop disease after 5 to 6 days of being bitten by the disease-carrying mosquito
■ It occurs in two forms: Dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF)
■ Dengue fever is a severe flu like illness
■ The DHF is a more severe form of disease, which may cause death
■ Person suspected of having dengue fever or DHF must see a doctor immediately