West Bengal registers highest dengue cases in 4 years in first 26 weeks of 2022
While the state registered 1,037 dengue cases in the first 26 weeks of 2019, that number dropped to 619 and 273 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. However, it has shot up to 1,751 in just the first 26 weeks of 2022
At a time when concerns of the coronavirus pandemic are far from over, West Bengal faces a new threat in the form of dengue as the cases from the mosquito-borne disease have shot up to a four-year high in the eastern Indian state. This has forced the state government to convene a high-level meeting to brainstorm on how to contain the rising number of dengue cases.
While the state registered 1,037 dengue cases in the first 26 weeks of 2019, that number dropped to 619 and 273 during the same period in 2020 and 2021, respectively. However, it has shot up to 1,751 in just the first 26 weeks of 2022.
“We have a higher number of cases this year. But the testing has also gone up. The chief secretary has held a meeting with some departments, including urban development, health and panchayat and rural development. Corrective actions have also been initiated,” state health secretary NS Nigam said.
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A senior official from the state health department said that this year, rural areas have registered more cases compared to urban areas – nearly 70%. Districts such as North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad and Malda have recorded the highest number of cases.
“The panchayat and rural development department has opened a special cell and two doctors have been posted in the control room. Whenever cases start rising in a certain area, they can be alerted and steps can be initiated,” said a senior health department official.
Experts claim one of the reasons behind the rising number of dengue cases in rural areas is “unbridled urbanisation”.
“Earlier, mosquito-borne diseases were mostly reported from cities and towns. But now with unbridled urbanisation, water-logging coupled with the effects of global warming and climate change, which include erratic rainfall and rising temperature, are providing safe breeding grounds for mosquitoes in rural areas. This is a cause of concern,” Dr Anirban Dolui, a public health expert, said.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases have shot up multiple times in West Bengal over the past one month. While the state recorded 123 cases on June 12, that number shot up to 2,659 on July 12; at least five persons died due to coronavirus on Tuesday.
Even though the Mamata Banerjee-administration is yet to impose any restrictions, the government has already made it mandatory to wear face masks in public places.