Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Nine deaths caused by dengue and a steadily rising tally of cases, according to the health department of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), are reasons enough for it to crack the whip on the average household’s affordable way to beat the heat — room coolers.
On Thursday, the MCD issued an advisory to the general public to stop using the coolers as the disease is spreading fast. Government offices, educational institutions and hospitals find a special mention in the advisory note.
The stagnant water in coolers is a perfect breeding ground for the dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquito. The mosquito is easily identifiable by the distinctive black and white stripes on its body. It breeds in clean, stagnant water, easily found in many homes.
In spite of door-to-door checking of room coolers in residential colonies and commercial complexes, the MCD's health department has failed in its efforts to convince people to change water in their room coolers regularly or put a spoon of kerosene oil in the stagnant water —measures to check mosquito breeding.
And what if you just cannot but switch the coolers on?
Well, as of now, MCD officials do not intend to hound people for not disbanding the room coolers right away.
"We are not going to penalise anyone right now if the coolers are being used. But if there is no decrease in the number of cases, we might have to take coercive measures," said Dr NK Yadav, Municipal Health Officer.
Nine deaths and 327 cases of dengue have been reported so far.
To check domestic breeding, the MCD has engaged 1,100 employees to assist their regular work force of health workers.
So far, mosquito breeding has been found in 46,956 premises and legal notices have been issued to 33,703 property owners. "We are also spraying insecticides in colonies from where fresh dengue cases are being reported," said Yadav.