Govt on alert mode to contain dengue spread

Authorities gear up to prevent repeat of 2012 crisis

Govt on alert mode to contain dengue spread

Dengue cases are on the rise in Bangalore and Mysore, putting the government in a spot of bother.

As the various departments ready themselves with contingency plans to tackle the monsoon, which is likely to aid mosquito breeding (the main cause for dengue), authorities are keen on not letting the trend of increasing cases seen in 2012 continue this year.

In 2012 alone, more than 20 people lost their lives and as many as 1,734 positive cases were reported in the State, compared to a meagre 405 cases and five deaths in 2011.

According to officials, there have been around 90 cases reported in Bangalore since January this year, with 40 of them reported in May.

There have been close to 690 cases reported this year, almost 300 more than the number in 2011. In 2009 and 2010, a total of 15 people lost their lives, with the total number of cases at 4,049.

While the situation is worse in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which have recorded more deaths and cases compared to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh has fared well in handling dengue (see box).

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Dhanya Kumar, Director, Health and Family Welfare department, said: “With 21 testing facilities / laboratories for dengue, we are one of the states with the highest facilities, which has been acknowledged even by the Centre. So, it is natural that we report more cases. But, what is important is that we are able to cure most patients.”

Noting that the authorities had pinned their hopes on preventing the disease, he said the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) had been reminded of their duties as per the Centre’s directive, in the prevention of such cases.

He said people and civic agencies would have to take enough measures to prevent the disease. He said a spot inspection conducted by the Health department showed that 300 out of the 400 houses at Salundi in Mysore taluk had larvae breeding.

“We have prepared handbooks to guide people about precautions to be taken. A door-to-door survey will be done to help them understand the same. It is important that people realise the importance of cleanliness,” he said.

With research on developing a vaccine for dengue elusive globally, prevention of the disease is a challenge for civic and health authorities. The continuing problem of garbage and open drains in the City do not make it easier for people.

Officials pointed out that in what could be a gamechanger, French pharma company Sanofi Pasteur is conducting the phase-3 trials of a vaccine for dengue in Bangalore.

“The trials began in November last year, but there is no concrete progress as yet,” one of them said.

No need to panic

Kumar, however, assured people that the State is equipped with enough paracetamols and fluids to treat patients diagnosed with dengue. “Not everybody diagnosed with the virus has serious problems. In almost 99 per cent of the cases, the disease is cured without any complications,” he said.

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