A sharp decline in the number of malaria cases reported in the city has officials ponder for reasons. Going by the number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease reported at the Government Fever Hospital till November end, 544 cases of malaria have been reported-- a drastic decline compared to 829 cases reported in the hospital in the same period in 2012.
Whereas, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s urban malaria wing, reported 189 cases of malaria in 2013 compared to 528 in 2012.
Superintendent of the Fever Hospital Dr K Shankar said that not all mosquitoes carry malaria and may be the parasite has receded this year. While entomologists of the GHMC urban malaria wing pat their backs reasoning the decline in cases to the number of schemes undertaken by them over a period of time, doctors at the Fever hospital were of the opinion that the decline was due to increasing awareness among the people. The best way to prevent vector-borne diseases like malaria, they say, is to prevent the mosquitoes from breeding by avoiding creation of a puddle or a water-logged area etc.
Director of Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Parasitology and a researcher himself, Prof Md Masood Khan of department of Zoology, University College of Science, Osmania University, admits greater awareness among the people as one of the reasons. But, according to him, the major reason for decline in malaria cases this year could be the excessive rainfall the city received this season.
He, citing his research study on entomology, says, ‘’one of the reasons could be the heavy downpour which did not give room for stagnant water logging and washed away a majority of vectors.” Another reason, according to him, was ‘’severe environmental changes that could have led to mutation of the vector. This may prove lethal for the vector and could risk their survival.” He said, sometimes such changes prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Assistant meteorologist M Narasimha Rao of the Hyderabad Meteorology Centre too admitted that the city in 2013 received an excessive annual rainfall.
Echoing similar views with Prof Khan, though not completely, Dr Sunitha Nareddy, consultant, infectious diseases, Apollo Hospitals, says that extreme weather could certainly be a factor in the decline of malaria cases. However, she pointed out that diseases like malaria and dengue usually carries a cycle, meaning once in every 3 or 4 years, there could be a sudden spurt.
Compared to 151 cases reported between March and May in 2012, around 119 cases were reported in 2013 at the Fever Hospital. Whereas, in the post monsoon period between September and November in 2012, 342 cases were reported at the Fever Hospital as against 163 cases reported in the same period in 2013.