Malaria rises by 30 percent in Vizag, most cases in slums - The New Indian Express

Malaria rises by 30 percent in Vizag, most cases in slums

Published: 19th August 2013 11:37 AM

Last Updated: 19th August 2013 11:37 AM

A jump of over 30 per cent has been witnessed in the number of malaria cases reported in the limits of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) this year.

One of the major reasons for this is being stated as the stagnant water near slum settlements, drains and construction sites.

Most of the cases are reported from slums and settlements near construction sites where people store water in open vessels which facilitates mosquito breeding, said officials.

Also, large pits dug up near construction sites for the purpose of storing water for the works are seldom closed, and this adds to the problem.

District malaria officer KVS Prasad Rao said, “The rise is not abnormal. Unlike in rural areas where breeding happens mostly after spells of rain, the use of artificial containers and presence of slums makes the city an ideal abode for these parasites.”

The situation now is better than what it was a decade ago or even five years ago. “The minimum number of cases however cannot be reduced due to the said factors,” he explained.

Over 2,200 cases have been reported in the district till July this year. Officials from King George Hospital (KGH) confirmed 17 malaria deaths till date this year. Last year, 26 deaths and 3,000 cases of malaria were reported, and more than half of the cases came from Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) areas of Visakhapatnam, according to statistics available with district medical and health officer Dr R Syamala.

The number of cases in the tribal pockets of the district, however, has gone down this year. The DMHO attributes this to less rainfall. “We take up two rounds of spraying in the tribal and rural areas every year during this season. One round has been completed and the second will be taken up after the northeast spell,” she said. The sprayings in the city limits are done by GVMC officials.

“It is difficult to perform the operations regularly in the city and on the outskirts,” added GVMC biologist Y Mani. The GVMC has a special team to implement the vector control measures like anti-larval operations, spraying and fogging.

There has not been much difference in the number of dengue fever cases reported when compared to last  year. However, a dengue fever death seems to have escaped the database of DMHO officials who keep track of the seasonal fevers and measures taken to counter it.

Officials of KGH said that there was one dengue fever death and around 13 reported cases at KGH alone this year. But right now there are no cases of dengue fever at KGH.

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