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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Explained: Why are dengue cases rising in Punjab this season?

Punjab has been witnessing the unprecedented rise in dengue cases this year and till date the state has already witnessed a case count of 13,849.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
October 27, 2021 9:11:54 am
Anti-dengue measures at the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh. (Express Photo: Kamleshwar Singh, File)

Punjab has been witnessing the unprecedented rise in dengue cases this year and till date the state has already witnessed a case count of 13,849. The Indian Express explains the reasons behind the rising cases.

When did dengue cases start rising in the state?

The cases started rising in September, which was the last monsoon month, but they shot up from around a couple of 1,000 cases in the state during the third week of September to 13,849 within a month on October 26.

What are the main reasons behind the rising cases?

Experts said that there are three main reasons. One, the monsoon withdrawal, which happens in September, got delayed and monsoon could withdraw by October 9-10 only. In monsoon, people are a bit alert about vector diseases but after monsoon they become a little careless. This time during the delayed monsoon period rain water got accumulated around the localities and the mosquitoes got the perfect time to breed in the delayed monsoon period.

Secondly, health department teams found that there was unlimited breeding of dengue larvae in vacant plots where it was found in plastic glasses, coconut shells, cisterns, bottles, tyres or containers which were thrown in the garbage and got filled during rain water and led to its breeding. Thirdly, this time the testing of dengue is three times more. Last year, there were 30 labs and this time there are 39 labs where the dengue test is being conducted.

“This time the testing is three times more than the last year and more testing leads to more positivity because if testing would be less then number of positive cases will be less,” said Dr Gagandeep Grover, Punjab Nodal officer for vector borne diseases.

Had delayed monsoon created such scenario in the past too?

In 2019, there was delayed monsoon and Punjab had recorded 10,400 dengue cases that year too.

Dr Grover said that delayed monsoon is one of the main reasons for high rising cases this time, but in Punjab dengue fever has a pattern of increasing every alternate year.

“In 2019, there were 10,400 cases then in 2020 cases were over 8,000 and in 2017 there were around 15,000 cases…,” he said, adding that dengue occur in a pattern in some regions and in Punjab “we have noticed that it occurs in alternative years”.

What is the rate of its breeding this year?

Another expert, Dr Anil Manchnada, a Senior Medical Officer, said that dengue mosquitoes area breeding everywhere this year. And once the breeding gets intense then control is a bit difficult unless people follow the instructions and proper fogging is done on a regular basis.

How can such an intense occurrence be avoided?

Experts believe that without people’s participation it cannot be avoided. There are 55 -56 lakh households out of which 14 lakhs already visited to check breeding of dengue. It is necessary that people follow the guidelines for checking the breeding of the dengue mosquito which is very simple. Its breeding can be checked in the beginning because dengue mosquitoes have a life cycle of 3-4 weeks and during that period its multiplication is several 100 times.

They said a little alertness on the part of people can avoid its breeding. Further, the Local Bodies Department must do fogging in the evening time as its peak biting time is 2-3 hours before the sun sets.

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