Health dept to tackle diseases in monsoon in Udupi

An ‘info-ambulance’ van will create awareness among people about water-borne diseases like malaria.

The District Health Office has initiated necessary measures to tackle all water-borne and vector-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue, chikungunya and filariasis, during the current monsoon.

Dr Prashanth Bhat, district malaria control officer, said that vector-borne diseases are showing a rapid decline. “In a span of six years – from 2012 to 2018 – cases of malaria have come down by 10%. While 2,217 cases had been reported in 2012, only 221 cases were reported in 2018. This year, only 31 cases have been reported so far. Also, the incidence of the diseases is expected to get much lesser,” he stated.

“Udupi district contributes to 4% of the state burden of malaria, making it the second biggest contributor after Dakshina Kannada, which contributes to 70% of the state burden. Certain measures are taken throughout the year to contain the vector-borne diseases. A dedicated team, Asha and health workers strive towards prevention of the diseases,” said the officer.

Malaria urban problem

The urban areas contribute to 92 to 95% of the malaria burden of the district. A major cause for the spread of the disease are the migrant workers who hail from places like Odisha – which is a highly malaria endemic area – Bihar, Rajasthan and the north-eastern states. Periodic screening and testing of the migrant labourers and spraying chemicals at construction sites with stagnant water will prevent the spread of malaria, Dr Bhat advised.

“In addition, once every five months, inspection is done in every house. The people are educated regarding the diseases and the simple preventive measures and personal protection to be taken against mosquito bites. The public is also advised to keep their property and surroundings clean and get rid of stagnant water. The open wells all over the district are identified and guppy fish are added into the water in the wells,” said the officer.

Mosquito nets sprayed with long-lasting insecticide are provided to areas with high mosquito penetration. Hospitals are also provided with mosquito nets, he added.

“There are 60 sub-centres across the district. In each sub-centre, intensive larva survey is being conducted throughout the year. In the next five months of monsoon, volunteers will pay a lot of attention to areas vulnerable to malaria,” said Dr Bhat.

Day-time problems

Dengue and chikungunya are caused by day-time mosquito bites. The mosquitoes can breed even in very little water – like water collected in teacups, flowerpots and plastic containers.

“Not much can be done to get rid of them, as a result. It therefore becomes a responsibility of citizens themselves to take care to an extent,” said the officer, adding, “The Health Department will provide for the logical and technical needs of the people when asked.”

He also said that the district records four to five cases of Japanese Encephalitis – which is a viral disease caused by mosquito bites – every year.

Comments (+)