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Dengue and malaria ready to take off

The belated onset of rains in the Capital is now signalling a delayed outbreak of dreaded mosquito-borne diseases — dengue and malaria, reports Jaya Shroff Bhalla.

delhi Updated: Sep 12, 2009 00:41 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

The belated onset of rains in the Capital is now signalling a delayed outbreak of dreaded mosquito-borne diseases — dengue and malaria.

“We have already received eight cases and are expecting the figures to rise. Delay in monsoons only delays water-borne diseases, but this certainly does not mean that we should not expect cases this year,” said

Dr NK Yadav, chief medical officer, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

“We have intensified checking. Soon after rains, there is bound to be increase in breeding and hence a greater chance of water-borne infections.”

Delhi doctors are a worried lot as queues of patients with viral fever outside the clinics and out-patient departments in hospitals are getting longer.

“As soon as the rains stop, cases of mosquito-borne diseases will start coming in. Sporadic rains provide a perfect breeding ground for both the dengue-causing aedes aegypti and malaria-causing anopheles mosquitoes,” said

Dr Bir Singh of the department of Community Medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

“People should get themselves tested if the fever refuses to die down even after consuming paracetamol. Normal flu and dengue have a thin dividing line in terms of symptoms.”

Dengue viruses are transmitted to humans through the bites of infective female aedes mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes generally acquire the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. After virus incubation for eight to 10 days, an infected mosquito is capable of transmitting the virus for the rest of its life.

Similarly, the parasites that cause malaria are transmitted by a species of insects, which are known as the female anopheles mosquitoes. These parasites multiply within the red blood cells (which are commonly abbreviated as RBCs).

Infected humans are the main carriers and multipliers of the diseases, both of which are contagious.

“The spread of mosquitoes can be drastically reduced and brought under control by spraying insecticides inside the houses and especially near the drainage systems, where the stagnant water provides an excellent breeding ground, as the female mosquitoes lay their eggs there,” warned Yadav.