Chennai: Though state health department boasted of no casualties in last seven years due to malaria, the incidence of malaria has increased by more than 20 per cent since last year.
The state reported 4,341 total malaria cases in 2016, while the total number of cases surged to 5,449 in 2017, as per the data by National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme. Dengue remained a major challenge for the state health department recording more than 23,000 cases and 63 deaths in Tamil Nadu, but malaria cases also saw a steep rise last year.
Chennai accounts for the highest number of cases in the state in 2017. City recorded at least 3,500 cases in 2017, while it registered 2,743 cases in 2016.
The drought experienced in the state led to a spike in the breeding of mosquitoes last year, say, entomologists. “Waterlogging after drought brought a rise in the mosquito population and over the years, the disease-causing mosquitoes have become more resistant to the repellants. There is a need for more research on mosquito behaviour and their resistance capability, such that a permanent solution can be sought to control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
The rise in the number of dengue cases witnessed last year can be taken as an example and more steps need to be taken to curb the issue of increase in mosquito populations and their resistance to repellants,” said Dr S. Meena, an entomologist.
TN will be malaria-free by 2022, says health minister
At least 23 districts in Tamil Nadu will be malaria free soon as they have already entered malaria elimination phase, said health minister C. Vijayabaskar at the malaria elimination workshop held on Tuesday.
Inaugurating the workshop, the health minister said that the state is complying with the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination by 2022 and Tamil Nadu will be able to curb the disease within four years. The centre has set a target of elimination of malaria by 2030, however, state health department assures to curb malaria eight years before the target set by the centre.
“There have been no deaths due to malaria over the past seven years in Tamil Nadu and the state is also working with neighbouring states to control and prevent the disease,” he said.
A training handbook for the elimination of the disease was also released at the workshop. 190 entomologists involved in research programmes in the state were presented with appreciation certificates....