TS sees reduced dengue infections, courtesy below-normal rainfall

Breaks in monsoon may give the State a breather from the spate of dengue infections that the health department has moved to contain.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a decrease in rainfall activity in Telangana for five days, starting Tuesday. A low-pressure weather system hovering over neighbouring Chhattisgarh is now expected to move north-west into the country, tagging the rainfall in its wake.

With over 500 cases of dengue infection being reported by the State’s health authorities this year, the health administration has promised to stem the spiralling numbers.

Though the number of infections as on date this year appears small compared to last year’s 5,300 infections, it could well increase given that the monsoon months of August and September are yet to arrive. The State sees a rise during the last two months of monsoon, which then continues well into winter.

Mosquito breeding

However, below-normal rainfall due to breaks in monsoon may provide relief to health and civic authorities. In Hyderabad, for instance, reduced rainfall has resulted in diminished mosquito-breeding activity and smaller number of infections. “The rate of dengue infection in GHMC is relatively low. Many cases being treated in Hyderabad hospitals are from other parts of the State,” said GHMC’s Chief Entomologist V. Venkatesh. Virologists and zoologists say climate, host and the genetic make-up of the virus determine the severity of outbreaks. “The dengue virus needs fresh stagnant water. Scanty rainfall or flooding prevents the carrier mosquito Aedes aegypti from breeding and reaching adulthood,” said B. Redya Naik, a professor at Osmania University.

The weather notwithstanding, the GHMC is not taking chances, Mr. Venkatesh informed. “Besides anti-larval operations, we are also carrying out awareness programmes to prevent water stagnation, mainly in schools,” he said.

Firm measures

The GHMC has begun imposing monetary penalties on scrap godowns at Golnaka, Kukatpally and Qutubullapur. The official added such firm measures would continue to be taken, mainly on commercial establishments and construction sites, where large amounts of water stagnation is being neglected.

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