CHENNAI: At their wit’s end following the spike in dengue figures even before the onset of monsoon, the health department is initiating legal action against owners of premises where stagnant freshwater is leading to breeding of dengue-causing aedes mosquitoes.
As keeping sumps, overhead tanks and other containers - including old tyres, coconut shells etc. - closed is key to controlling breeding of the mosquito, and thus dengue, local bodies have imposed a fine on individuals and industries who allow water to stagnate inside their premises.
“The local bodies are clearing garbage and unused containers from surrounding of houses and from industrial premises. But most people are leaving underground sumps and tanks open, which is a cause for spike in dengue cases,” said State health secretary J Radhakrishnan.
Aedes mosquitoes can fly around within a radius of 500 metres. This means a single such stagnant freshwater source could lead to spread of infection to the entire neighbourhood.
“Everybody knows aedes mosquitoes cause life-threatening illnesses like dengue. Allowing them to breed even after knowing this cannot be condoned. We will initiate legal action against them for endangering lives of others,” said Dr K Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health.
The health department has been on the backfoot on controlling the spread, which has peaked even before monsoon. According to National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme data, 5,474 dengue cases and one death were reported till July 30 this year.
Health Minister C Vijaya Basker said special medical teams have been constituted at all GHs. A dedicated fever ward with an ICU has been set up at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and other GHs.
“As of now, 14 out of 85 patients admitted to RGGGH with fever, one among the seven police personnel admitted to the hospital, and 5 among 88 children admitted at Institute of Child Health, Egmore, were found to have dengue fever,” said Vijaya Basker.