The state of Andhra Pradesh seems to be gravely affected by the menace of mosquito-borne diseases, with an increase in the number of malaria and dengue cases. While many parts of India have been under the radar of vector-borne diseases, Andhra Pradesh seems to be worst hit. So much so that in the span of six days between September 7 and 13, a total of 86 people were diagnosed with dengue in Visakhapatnam district alone. Meanwhile, 118 cases have been reported in the entire state.
Simultaneously, 56 cases of malaria have been reported in Andhra Pradesh, out of which 35 patients are from the Vishakhapatnam district. Apart from East Godavari district, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Chittoor are also reporting an increase in dengue and malaria cases.
The soaring number has caused serious concerns among the health officials, who expect the numbers to soar up in coming days. To keep the cases of mosquito-borne diseases in check, health officials in the state are taking preventive measures seriously.
Dr Susheela, District Medical and Health Officer, East Godavari district, told The News Minute, “We are finding that most people coming to the hospitals with high fever are diagnosed with malaria or dengue, and we are taking measures to ensure that people know what to do to prevent these infections. All public places are being sprayed and we are conducting awareness campaigns to prevent increase in the mosquito population.”
Dengue virus is spread via the bite of an infected mosquitoAedesAegypti. These mosquitoes are also responsible for the spread of West Nile virus, Zika and Chikungunya. There are five serotypes (strains) of the virus that an individual can contract. The common symptoms of dengue are high grade fever, myalgia (muscle pain) and general fatigue. On the other hand, malaria is caused by a malarial parasite which is also transmitted to people from female Anopheles mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of malaria are also high grade fever with chills and rigors.
Dr Susheela added, “If we know that an individual has recovered from one of these diseases, we send a team there to ensure that spraying of pesticides is being done in and around the house as well, to reduce mosquito populations.”
The health department officials in the state are advising people to take preventive efforts against mosquito infestation. They are conducting fumigation in public spaces and awareness campaigns to inform the people. The officials are also asking people to not leave open containers of water standing around, to use mosquito nets and repellents.