Water storage units common breeding spots, says South Delhi civic body

The analysis, conducted by SDMC’s anti-malaria operations headquarter and the public health department and based on mosquito breeding site data from 32 hot spot wards, chalks out the current distribution of mosquito breeding sites and its variation.
A municipal worker fumigates a slum area as a preventive measure against mosquito-born diseases in Kolkata on November 15, 2021. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP) (AFP)
A municipal worker fumigates a slum area as a preventive measure against mosquito-born diseases in Kolkata on November 15, 2021. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP) (AFP)
Updated on Nov 16, 2021 02:56 AM IST
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ByParas Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

As Delhi faces a sharp spike in dengue cases this year, an analysis by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has found that water storage units and peridomestic containers constitute the biggest share of mosquito breeding spots in the city.

The analysis, conducted by SDMC’s anti-malaria operations headquarter and the public health department and based on mosquito breeding site data from 32 hot spot wards, chalks out the current distribution of mosquito breeding sites and its variation.

According to it, 58.5% aedes aegypti larvae were found in water storage units, such as drums, buckets, jerry cans etc; 30.2% in peri-domestic units, like money plant vases, flower pots, water feeders for birds etc; and smaller contributions from overhead tanks (5.4%), desert coolers (3.8%) and sumps (2.1%).

A senior SDMC public health official said that the top category of breeding sites shows an overlap of vulnerable spots in areas lacking basic infrastructure.

“Households using containers for water storage have maximum breeding sites. There is also carelessness among the residents leading to breeding in such decorative items such as flower pots and fountains. Aedes aegypti is a mosquito that can spread dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. It prefers to lay eggs in clean water and has adapted to breed among human dwellings. With the drop in temperature, we are likely see a further decrease in dengue cases but people need to be extra vigilant for these two weeks,” official said.

Inderjeet Sehrawat, leader of the house in SDMC, said that the delayed monsoon and slow arrival of winter has led to increase in the dengue cases this year. “The situation will improve once temperature dips below 10°C. Meanwhile, we will continue a three-day intensive drive in areas with high frequency of dengue cases,” he added.

The domestic breeding checkers of the three civic bodies have so far detected 1.80 lakh houses with mosquito breeding in 2021, which is higher than the 1.07 lakh detected in 2020 and 1.73 lakh in 2019.

The weekly vector-borne diseases report released on Monday shows that mosquito breeding was found in 5,111 houses in the last week.

Within the three civic bodies, North MCD areas have witnessed maximum cases of mosquito breeding, followed by SDMC and EDMC respectively.

A public health official overseeing the entomological survey of the 32 vulnerable wards explained that the areas were assessed on mosquito surveillance indices -- house index (HI), container index (CI), and breteau index (number of positive containers per 100 houses) -- to measure the density of aedes mosquito larvae.

Some of the problem areas highlighted in the survey include Gautam Nagar, G-2 Block Sangam Vihar, Tigri Colony, Mehrauli ward 8, Jeevan Park Uttam Nagar, F-Block Raj Nagar-2, Mahipalpur Village Harijan Basti, Rangpuri Pahari’s Inder Camp, Khadda colony and Chhuriya Mohalla of Tehkhand Village.

“The distribution can be used to assess other vulnerable areas too,” the official remarked.

A senior municipal entomologist said that with the temperature dropping below 15°C, residents should be extra cautious as adult aedes aegypti mosquitoes migrate from open areas, which are colder, to optimum temperature conditions within houses around evenings.

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