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Construction sites turn disease hubs

Poornima Nataraj, July 20, 2013, DHNS: 3:30 IST
The garbage dump yard, weeds and stagnant water, as is the case in Gubbalala, breed fears of vector-borne diseases. DH Photos: Kishore Kumar Bolar
Twelve Metro rail workers were hospitalised for Dengue fever last year. Apparently, mosquitoes breeding inside the hospital premises had led to infection among the workers, who were residing close to the medical facility.

Ironically, BBMP had imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on the hospital for not maintaining hygiene in their premises and allowing mosquitoes to breed. Irrespective of whether the fine was collected or not, people continue to suffer from the deadly bite of the mosquitoes even today.

Last year, a team of scientists from National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) had conducted a study at a slum near Benniganahalli, where a large number of metro workers -- mainly migrants -- live. The study found that these workers, living in unhygienic congregated areas, had stored water for their domestic purposes. They also found mosquitoes breeding in the premises.

Dr S K Ghosh, a scientist from NIMR, concluded in the study that when people live in close congregated areas, it is very easy for disease such as Dengue and Chikungunya to spread. “These day biting mosquitoes can easily spread the illness to people. Eight to ten persons may be living in a shack. Living close to the breeding grounds in congregated areas spread the infection to many quickly,” Dr Ghosh had analysed.

The scientist cites unorganised urbanisation as the prime reason for such outbreak of epidemics. People who migrate to the City start residing in close proximity with their minimal requirement.

The City’s growth has also increased the demand for basic need for water and shelter. With Bangalore already reeling under severe water crisis, it has become a practice for residents to store water for their domestic needs.

But, they are not aware that these uncovered pockets of fresh stored water turn breeding grounds for the vector-borne disease causing mosquitoes. What is even more unfortunate is that people are still not aware about these deadly vectors breeding out in the open, notes Dr Ghosh.

Awareness drives on the diseases by local municipal agencies and health department are unlikely to yield results without people’s participation. The community needs to keep their surrounding free from breeding mosquitoes. It is also the responsibility of the civic agencies to supply water regularly to the people who otherwise have to store water, says Dr Ghosh.

For the record, Dengue and Chikungunya are the two deadly vector borne diseases haunting Bangaloreans for some time now.

Mosquitoes which mainly breed on fresh water bite during the day and cause fever, joint pains and other problems. General physicians say that there is no medicine available for the disease. However, regular monitoring and keeping the body hydrated helps in recovering from the infections.

FOR HEALTHY LIVING

* Keep stored water always in a clean, dry area; change water every two days
* Drain out water that collects under pots, keep them dry
* Ensure that tyres, coconut shells or any other containers are not left in the open.
These can collect rainwater and mosquitoes can breed in them
* Dispose of garbage regularly and ensure that it is not scattered by dogs or birds
* Boil water before drinking. This is the best way to avoid all water-borne diseases


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