As monsoon approaches, State gears up to battle dengue

May 16 is observed as National Dengue Day

After a lull, dengue is back in the city. Hospitals are getting patients with suspected dengue almost every day. While 809 persons have tested positive for the viral disease since January this year, the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital has recorded three positive cases in the last 10 days.

Of the total 809 positive cases, the highest number (311) was reported from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits. This is followed by Shivamogga where 104 positive cases have been reported. The State Health and Family Welfare Department has not recorded any dengue death this year.

The number of dengue cases in Karnataka had been declining since 2017. That year, dengue incidence in the State was at its peak and as many as 17,844 positive cases were reported. Flooded with patients, hospitals reported shortage of beds. Concerned over the alarming situation, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry had deputed a team of experts to Karnataka to review the outbreak and provide technical assistance to stem the spread.

In 2018, the number of cases came down to 4,848. Although this number has further reduced this year to 809 (from January till date), the Health Department is gearing up to battle the vector borne disease.

State health officials attribute the drastic dip in cases to modified larvae reduction strategies and intensified awareness programmes. Also rain in many parts of the State disrupted the 15-days life cycle of dengue-causing aedes aegypti mosquito that breeds in freshwater and bites during the day.

According to experts in vector borne disease control programme, although dengue was earlier associated with the monsoon, it has now become a self-limiting viral fever which is prevalent all through the year. The dengue-causing mosquito breeds in stagnant water anywhere inside or outside houses.

B.G. Prakash, State Deputy Director (NVBDCP), said that the department modified strategies following the alarming situation in 2017. “While 1,500 sub-centres have been identified for source reduction activities, 11 major cities and 176 taluk headquarters were selected for vector control activities. That apart, training workshops for medical officers and para-medical staff and awareness programmes are also being conducted,” he said.

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