THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the entire health department busy fighting the pandemic, and conducting safe local body elections, mosquito control activities to keep vector borne diseases under control was ignored this year. Consequently, many parts of the city have turned into Chikungunya hotspots. In December, a total of 29 chikungunya cases were reported from the district, with Pangode area being the epicentre of infections.
“We conducted mosquito eradication activities in the area and investigated reasons for the spike in the number of cases. We found that many houses in the region have indoor plants which have turned into breeding grounds for mosquitoes. We have given necessary instructions,” said an official with the district medical office. According to reports, house visit programmes undertaken by health authorities have come to a halt owing to the pandemic.
“We used to conduct house visits to sketch mosquito breeding grounds. Now, nothing of the sort is happening. We don’t have enough hands to handle activities that are key to prevent communicable diseases. A majority of our health officials are deployed at the airport. Communicable disease can also turn deadly,” the official added.
This month alone, communicable diseases claimed four lives (leptospirosis - 1, scrub typhus - 2 and fever - 1) in the district. Health authorities at the corporation admit that they couldn’t focus much on mosquito eradication activities, as the entire machinery was engaged in containing the pandemic. “Normally, we prepare an action plan and do comprehensive mosquito eradication activities in all 100 wards. This year, we couldn’t do it,” said an official of the health wing.