Kerala: Health service apathy worsens dengue threat

State has registered the highest number of dengue deaths among all states last year.

Thiruvananthapuram: With dengue spreading rapidly across the state, the health service department and local bodies are yet to get their act together to face the alarming situation. Mosquitoes borne disease cases have nearly doubled compared to last year with Thiruvananthapuram continuing to retain the dubious distinction of being dengue capital with highest number of cases. More than 1000 cases of dengue were reported in the state during last month while the number of cases across the state had crossed the 5000 mark so far this year.

The cases in capital have gone up to 700 and large number of suspected cases are coming every day. Health officials want the civic bodies to play a proactive role in disease prevention activities. Apart from dengue, suspected cases of malaria and scrub typhus were also causing concern. At the moment the corporation staff is cleaning drains in each ward once in a year as part of the pre monsoon drive. Apart from Thiruvananthapuram, dengue cases are also being reported from Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Malappuram and Wayand.

It may be recalled that Kerala had registered highest number of deaths due to dengue among all states last year. Only National Capital Region Delhi had higher number of dengue deaths at 38. Since 2009 - 2015 a total of 23,753 dengue cases had been reported in the state and 113 persons had died during this period. While states like Maharashra had been able to reduce the death rate by more than half from 54 in 2014 to 21, Kerala is still groping in the dark. From 11 in 2014, the total number of deaths had gone up to 25 in 2015.

While the health department had launched state wide environmental management and source reduction programmes, because of lack of coordination between different departments the effort has not been able to bring in desired results. The biological control measures like use of mosquito fish in ornamental tanks, fountains and use of biocides need to be scaled up. Some of the measures which need to be implemented on priority include management of roof tops, porticos and sunshades, proper covering of stored water, reliable water supply, observation of weekly dry day, sensitising and involving the community for detection of aedes aegypti breeding places and their elimination.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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