The number of dengue cases across Maharashtra, from January till the end of March, has been higher compared to last year, with Kolhapur, Thane and Pune divisions among the most affected regions, said state health authorities.
Last year, there were 234 cases of dengue in the same three-month period, while the number has almost doubled this year. Maharashtra has recorded 452 cases of dengue in the same period this year, Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, told The Indian Express.
As many as 132 cases of dengue have been recorded at Kolhapur, followed by 101 and 102 each in Thane and Pune divisions, and 60 in Latur. The problem has been aggravated by the drought-like situation in the state as well as construction work in urban areas, which led to a rise in mosquito breeding sites, said Awate. “We have conducted a survey and started prevention and control measures in areas which have seen outbreaks…,” he said.
These measures include surveillance of fever cases and integrated vector management. “We have put together some teams to provide information and create awareness about vector control measures. Schoolchildren have been involved in efforts to create awareness,” added Awate.
While there have been five suspected deaths from the disease, an audit committee is examining these cases and it is expected to submit its final report soon. Despite the paucity of health staff — most of them are busy with election duties — Awate said the state health department has chalked out high-risk areas at the village and block level. He added that district-wise mapping has also been done.
Last year, Maharashtra had, for the first time, recorded more than 10,000 dengue cases and the higher number of cases was attributed to erratic rainfall. “In 2018, there were a total of 11,038 cases of dengue and 70 deaths in the state… the same areas of Kolhapur, Thane, Pune and other divisions were the worst affected,” said Awate.
Health authorities said there have been 29 cases of dengue in Pune city and 33 in Pune rural areas.