No taming winged menace as dengue cases edge to 500
New Delhi: With the reports of 410 malaria cases this year, the claim of the civic agencies to have taken eco-friendly measures besides routine spraying and fogging to check the vector-borne diseases seems to be a total failure.
At least 79 fresh cases of dengue have also been reported during this month in Delhi, taking the total number of people affected by the vector-borne disease this season to nearly 500, according to a Municipal report released on Monday.
The number of chikungunya cases this year till August 12, has climbed to 283. Of the 496 dengue cases, 251 affected people were residents of Delhi while the rest of the cases diagnosed here were traced to other states.
At least 79 cases have been recorded this month. Nearly 120 cases of dengue were reported last month, while 15 were recorded in June.
According to the report, breeding of mosquitoes has been reported at 1.04 lakh households in the Capital. All the three municipal corporations have stepped up awareness drives, distributing pamphlets and plying vehicles with loudspeakers issuing dos and don'ts for prevention of the diseases.
However, sources in the Corporation said the spraying insecticide is a futile exercise.
"By doing this the agency is fooling the people." Explaining the process from procurement of insecticides from a particular company to further distribution to the 'District Health Officer' (DHOs), they said, "First insecticides purchased by agency and then allotted to DHOs on demand but there is an elephant in the room that has not been noticed till now as there is no mechanism to check that whether the DHOs are further using the insecticides in the desired quantity or not."
They further highlighted that a tank used for spraying cost Rs 1.5 lakh while the insecticides cost Rs 1,050 per kg. To make a water cooler dengue free only cost Rs 25, said sources. Most importantly, there is no measure to check whether insecticides worth Rs 1.5 lakh (in a single tank) is being used to spray or not. Some of the officials on the condition of anonymity also alleged that the DHO's sells insecticides back to the company at the 50 per cent cost.
The season for the vector-borne diseases kicked in mid- July and it generally lasts till November-end. Cases of all the three vector-borne diseases were reported much earlier this time, which doctors had attributed to the early arrival of the monsoon. Dengue and chikungunya are caused by 'Aedes Egypt' mosquito, which breeds in clear water. Anopheles mosquito, which causes malaria, can breed in both fresh and muddy water.
At least 15 fatalities were reported last year at various hospitals in the city due to complications triggered by chikungunya though the civic bodies have kept the death tally at zero.