Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only. EPS

Citizen & government action can defeat dengue

Dengue deaths have shot up from 166 in 2019 to 485 in 2023 and 16 till this April end. The disease is known to peak post-September every year.

A surge in dengue cases has worried the Karnataka government, which has gone into combat mode with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordering deputy commissioners to constitute task forces in all 31 districts of the state to combat the disease. The state has recorded 7,382 cases this year with seven deaths and 303 patients in hospitals for treatment.

It should worry health authorities across India, which has, according to the National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control, seen a rise in dengue cases from 1,15,315 in 2019 to 2,89,235 in 2023, and 19,447 till April 30 this year. Dengue deaths have shot up from 166 in 2019 to 485 in 2023 and 16 till this April end. The disease is known to peak post September every year.

Dengue is not as infectious a disease as Covid. That is probably why Siddaramaiah has refused to entertain appeals from experts to declare a medical emergency in the state. But the disease is worrisome as infections and deaths are increasing every year. The dengue virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes, primarily the Aedes aegypti, which breeds in stagnant water. A worrying trend is that the breeding of this variety of mosquitoes, which was more common in urban areas, is now rapidly spreading in rural areas due to socio-economic and man-made ecological changes.

Siddaramaiah has done what any chief minister facing such a situation would do. He ordered increasing tests, adding clinics, constantly monitoring the infected, setting up special wards in district hospitals and medical colleges, and forming teams to monitor the situation. But that is not enough to completely knock out dengue. The disease surge is as much a failure of the common citizen as it is of the government. Disease management and prevention needs governmental measures as well as citizens’ participation.

People’s behaviour of roadside garbage dumping, hurling waste in vacant sites, allowing water accumulation at under-construction sites and ignoring water stagnation in neighbourhoods during rains needs to be ruthlessly curtailed. Strict enforcement is needed. Prohibitively steep fines should be levied on those contributing to our habit of littering public spaces with an apathetic attitude. We need to act now, before it gets out of hand and we end up with a health crisis to deal with.

Image used for representational purposes only.
Karnataka: Doctors warn not to ignore fever, even if dengue tests negative

The New Indian Express