Feeling under the weather lately? If your flu symptoms come with a sudden rise in body temperature, severe pain in muscles and joints, headache or gastrointestinal trouble, see a doctor immediately. 29 dengue cases have been reported in the city since the pre-monsoon showers began and it's likely to get worse. BBMP's fogging services are no match for sodden rubbish heaps and countless pools of stagnant water. The dengue mosquito, however, breeds in fresh water, so cover stored water when it isn't being used, warns Abilash Mariswamy.
While the rain gods seem to be smiling on Bengaluru over the last few days, the city is, unfortunately, also seeing an outbreak of mosquitoes as the puddles on its roads provide them an ideal breeding ground.
Inevitably people are coming down with mosquito- borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya. Over the last nine days at least 29 cases of dengue have been reported in Bengaluru after the pre-monsoon showers made their appearance, according to the Department of Health and Family Welfare.
Since January, the city has reported 311 suspected cases of the disease and the state as a whole, 7487, the department reveals. With National Dengue Day being observed on May 16, the stress is on awareness and prevention of the disease in the community, but the BBMP seems to have no plan of action to curb the population of the Aedes Aegypti species of mosquitoes that carry the virus and transmit it on biting an individual.
Dr. Sathish, pathologist, Medall Diagnostics, says the only way to control the spread of dengue is to stop the breeding of the mosquito, Aedes Aegypti. “All efforts of control should be directed against the mosquitoes,” he stressed.
Medical experts believe precautions are essential as although the disease can be mild and cured quickly, it can also lead to complications and even death if not handled properly. Sadly, although the BBMP is aware of this, it doesn’t seem in a hurry to fill potholes on the roads or clear garbage heaps that can trap rain water and become ideal breeding grounds of the mosquitoes. “There is a pile of garbage in the empty site beside my house. Despite complaining several times, the BBMP has not bothered to clean it and when it rains, it becomes a breeding place for mosquitoes. So we have no choice but to keep our doors and windows closed all the time,” complained Ms Rani Manoj, a resident of Dasarahalli.
A senior BBMP health officer too admits that the recent rain in the city has left stagnant pools of water, which are encouraging the breeding of mosquitoes. But he claims the civic agency is taking all precautions against the disease.
Claiming that compared to last year, there have been fewer dengue cases this year between January and April, Dr. S. Sajjan Shetty, joint director, communicable disease, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said, “ All precautionary measures like testing, treatment, and follow-up of positive cases are being taken. ASHA workers go door-to-door to create awareness on dengue symptoms and precautions needed on the first and third Friday of every month both in rural and urban areas. In addition, dengue workshops are held at the state level and group discussions at the village level.”
As for the BBMP’s fogging services, he says it may not be effective against these mosquitoes. “The Aedes Aegypti species breed in fresh water and so it is important for people to put a lid on any stored water when it is not being used,” he emphasised.
On the prevention front
- In the days to come, with the intermittent rainfall expected and an increase in the mosquito breeding sites, let’s look at some simple preventive measures
- Ensure that children wear long-sleeved shirts, full pants and socks
- Ensure that all doors and windows are shut before 5 pm to prevent mosquitoes from entering
- Avoid heavily scented soaps and perfumes as they attract mosquitoes
- Remove any excess water from potted plants and change the water in flower vases every day
- Use mosquito nets at home. Mosquito repellents which are safe are available and can be used to avoid mosquito bites.
- In case of any fever and other symptoms, continue good hydration. Oral Paracetamol is safe for fever and bodyache. Avoid other pain killers. Please consult a doctor for further evaluation if fever persists beyond a couple of days.
Avoid aspirin, paracetamol to treat dengue symptoms
City doctors advise people to take the precautions to ensure that there are no breeding of mosquito larvae around and urged them to wear full-sleeves and use mosquito nets.
“The best way to prevent the disease is to prevent bites by infected mosquitoes, particularly if you are living in or traveling to a dengue-affected area. This involves protecting yourself and making efforts to keep the mosquito population down,” said Dr. Pankaj Singhai, HOD-Internal Medicines, Manipal Hospitals.
He also said that there is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. “If you think you may have dengue fever, you should use pain relievers with Paracetamol and avoid medicines with Aspirin, which could worsen bleeding. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see your doctor. If you start to feel worse in the first 24 hours after your fever goes down, you should get to a hospital immediately to be checked for complications,” said Dr. Singhai.
Some of the symptoms due to the onset of dengue include sudden onset of high fever, severe headache (mostly in the forehead), pain behind the eyes which worsen with eye movement, body aches and joint pains and nausea or vomiting and loss of appetite.
Dr. Sathish, Pathologist, Medall Diagnostics also said that the only way currently to control the disease is to control the mosquito, Aedesaegypti, which spreads the disease. “All efforts of control should be directed against the mosquitoes. It is important to take control measures to eliminate the mosquitoes and their breeding places.”