In the wake of dengue cases being reported in Chennai since September, the state health department has urged the public to take steps to prevent the breeding of the aedes mosquito, which is a vector for the dengue virus in the city.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Dr. K Kolandaiswamy, the Director of Public Health said, “During the rainy season, the number of dengue related cases will be more. Usually around the months of September, October and November, there will be a spike in dengue cases.”
“The number of dengue cases that have been reported across Tamil Nadu this year is marginally lesser than those reported last year during the corresponding period. From January 2019 till date, we have recorded 2500 cases of dengue across the state,” added the director.
In a bid to curb the spike in dengue cases, the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has issued public circulars with details on the symptoms and causes of dengue fever.
“There is a four-step method for controlling a dengue outbreak. The first one is by reducing the breeding potential by covering all water containers and ensuring that solid waste management is followed by individual households. The second step is source reduction where we determine breeding hotspots following rains in the city and take necessary action. In the third step, we collect mosquitoes samples from breeding pools to determine the presence of the dengue virus. This process is only followed by Tamil Nadu currently,” said Kolandaiswamy. One domestic breeding worker is posted on a temporary basis for every 250 houses in urban areas, one for every 50 households in rural areas and 25 for town panchayats.
The fourth step involves creating awareness among the public. According to Kolandaiswamy, there are 2 crore households and 1 crore commercial establishments and communicating at the grassroot level becomes quite hard. To overcome this, the health department has roped in women’s Self Help Groups (SHG) who go from door-to-door and educate people about dengue virus. Further, teams of school students form cleanliness and sanitation groups and educate households in their neighbourhoods about dengue and ways to prevent mosquito breeding. The process is carried out by the health department in collaboration with the school education department.
If owners and residents remain uncooperative, the department issues legal notice against them, while the local administration slaps a fine for creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“People who are running a fever should visit the nearest hospital at once instead of waiting out the fever and going a few days later. Symptoms of dengue include fever, severe body pain, rashes, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. It is necessary to keep drinking fluids and consult with a doctor,” said Kolandaiswamy. The department has urged citizens to report to the nearest hospital at the first sign of high temperature.
The department has also issued a circular to hospitals with guidelines regarding the treatment of patients diagnosed with dengue fever. Further, hospitals have been directed to discharge patients three days after the fever subsides and appetite is regained, with a platelet count above 150000 mm (cubic millilitres).