BBMP trying hard to control vector-borne diseases

BBMP trying hard to control vector-borne diseases

Civic authorities scour for larvae-breeding spots, besides putting people on malaria watchlist

As if incessant rains and waterlogging are not enough, municipal authorities must contain vector-borne diseases like chikungunya and malaria that spread faster due to stagnant water. 

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has intensified larval-control measures and suggested clearing stagnant water in low-lying areas that allow faster mosquito breeding. Besides, it is also dealing with gastroenteritis spread by contaminated water. 

At a November 19 meeting of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), it was revealed that between August and November, the city had 35 instances of chikungunya and a malaria case. 

In the past four months, health officials tested 860 people for chikungunya cases in accordance with the NVBDCP guidelines, while 1% of the population in the eight BBMP zones have been under active surveillance for malaria. Fifteen per cent of the new fever patients visiting the outpatient department at the zonal hospitals are under passive surveillance. 

Malaria can be treated in five days, while chikungunya needs two weeks of treatment at home. Health officials had tested 3,846 people for malaria from July to September. 

Data from Dr Suresh G K, District Surveillance Officer, BBMP, reveals that municipal workers surveyed 10,281 houses for aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, out of which 943 were found with the larvae. 

Even as the Palike works to contain vector-borne diseases, two gastroenteritis outbreaks have been reported this month on November 5 and 6. The first one was in Pyramid Banksia apartment (in Chowdeshwari Nagar ward) that found 40 cases, and the second was at Telecom Layout (in HBR ward) reporting 21 cases. 

The test positivity rate for chikungunya in November stands at 13%. 

“We are proactively scouring major and minor breeding places and spraying Temephos chemical,” said Dr Suresh. “We expect more vector-borne diseases in a week with the increase of mosquito breeding as water stagnation will increase due to the rains.”

Authorities are releasing larvae-eating fish like guppy and gambusia into waterbodies replenished with rainwater.

BBMP Special Commissioner (Health) Dr Thrilok Chandra directed all health officers at a meeting on Friday to leverage manpower and actively control breeding places. 

Manpower shortage

Dr Suresh said the department is short of manpower.

“Taking sprayers and inspectors into consideration, our total strength is 1,400,” he said. "If we count Asha and ANM workers, we have 3,000 personnel. This isn’t sufficient. We should have five to six people per ward. In all, we should have 5,000 to 6,000 people,” he added. 

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