BENGALURU: A recent research paper, published in the Lancet Planetary Health, says that identifying dengue fever “hotspots” can provide a predictive map for future outbreaks of Zika and chikungunya.
All these three viral diseases are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.Public health experts in the state say this is the best way to even prevent co-infections of Covid-19 and dengue. The number of such co-infections is increasing in the state.
“The study, conducted in Mexico, provides a risk stratification method to guide the control of diseases spread by Aedes aegypti more effectively. This can help public health officials to conduct targeted, proactive interventions for emerging Aedes-borne diseases,” said a senior public health expert. He said that such mapping of hotspots can also predict where future cases will be concentrated.
According to doctors, mosquito control efforts generally involve outdoor spraying that covers broad swaths of a city, but the Aedes aegypti mosquito has adapted to live inside the houses. Dr Sudhir Krishna of the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), who has been working on research in dengue and other such infections, says that due to Covid-19, the focus on dengue has taken a back seat, but that shouldn’t be the case.
“My understanding is that in the last one-and-half years, the way Covid-19 has played out, people are so obsessed with the disease that they have not paid attention to other things. There have been reports from countries like Brazil which have argued that in areas where there were zero dengue cases then, there were lower patterns of Covid-19. So, one must look into prevention of increase in dengue infections,” he suggested. Doctors feel that public health officials should ensure that more effective and efficient mosquito control measures should be taken up by identifying such hotspots so that they can control the disease even before an epidemic begins.