The presence of another species of a mosquito in the Capital has all the three municipal corporations worried. The city has been reporting an unusual rise in the number of cases of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral infection that is potentially fatal. And the civic bodies have finally found the culprit — Aedes Albopictus mosquito.
Commonly known as the Asian Tiger mosquito, it is known to breed in the open unlike the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that has been causing the infection all these years and would normally breed in dark and damp corners of buildings and collected water. The civic agencies have claimed that the new species is resistant to conventional modes of mosquito control such as fumigation, spray and temephos granules that are used to curb the breeding of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.
“Not much is known about the species but it has been found to carry dengue-causing virus. They breed in the open and were first identified in southern India.
The municipal corporations have been carrying out operations to control just the aegypti mosquitoes but now action has to be taken against this species as well,” said NK Yadav, municipal health officer of South Delhi, who is handling the mosquito control programme of all the three corporations.
Health experts said the two species do not have much similarity in their characteristics apart from the fact that they are carriers of the dengue virus.
“Like Aedes Aegypti, Aedes Albopictus is also a known carrier of dengue fever, but because of its different feeding pattern, the outbreak is not usually severe. The infection is also comparatively milder and usually lasts for a shorter period,” said a senior doctor from the department of community medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media.
“It is more adaptable to colder climes and stays dormant while Aedes Aegypti usually does not survive in cold weather,” he added. State health minister, AK Walia, however, said the civic agencies were “trying to shrug off responsibility by making these claims”.
“The breeding checkers should be able to detect the presence of any mosquito larvae, irrespective of the species,” the minister added.