CHENNAI: There has been considerable spike in dengue cases in Tamil Nadu compared to other vector borne diseases reported till August 31 this year, much to the worry of health authorities and public at large.
According to data published by National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP), the State has recorded 1,163 dengue cases as against 40 chikungunya cases and 15 Japanese Encephalities (JE) cases.
With dengue already claiming three lives, health authorities have asked the public to be extra cautious and to keep their surroundings clean.
Acknowledging that dengue was a major cause of concern due to the mortality rate, Director of Public Health Dr K Kolandaswamy told Express that unhygienic practices of public like open storage of water, unused containers were allowing the virus to thrive. “There is a need for behavioural change,” he said, and warned against going to quacks for treatments as there was no drug or vaccine for dengue.
In comparison, malaria cases have seen a dip. Only a few coastal regions in the State like Thoothukudi, Kanniyakumari, Rameswaram and Hogenakkal have reported cases of malaria. Till July, 115 malaria cases were reported. No death has been reported due to malaria.
In Chennai, the number of cases was negligible. Strict practices and control measures put in place over decades have made this possible, Kolandaswamy noted.
Chikungunya, on the other hand, was not fatal, and once infected by the fever, the immunity against the disease would be present in the human body for decades.
“There is a vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis, so it’s manageable,” the official said.
Meanwhile, experts feel that source reduction was the main aspect in controlling dengue. Construction site regulation was also an important factor.
Immediate surveillance measures should be initiated, failing which, fever outbreaks like in Tiruvallur would occur. Another major concern in the villages was the practice of storing drinking water in open drums for days, as they face irregular water supply problem. To avoid this, officials should provide chlorinated drinking water to the public every day, they said.