The Centre has written to states and UTs emphasising on acceleration of prevention and control activities for vector borne diseases such as dengue, without cutting any corners for safety from Covid-19. In a letter to chief secretaries and administrators of all states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said entomological surveillance, source reduction activities and prompt vector control measures must be implemented for minimising the risk of transmission.
He also underlined the need for keeping rapid response teams ready with all necessary logistics for timely deployment to combat any fever outbreak. Bhushan said a surge has been reported in the number of cases of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) such as dengue in some pockets in a few states in recent weeks.
Spread and transmission of these diseases are influenced by environmental factors, and their transmission is maximum during monsoon and post-monsoon period due to congenial environment for vector proliferation. "Therefore, it is imperative that sustained efforts are made to reduce the vector (mosquito) density to control these diseases. "In view of this, I would like to emphasize on acceleration of the activities for prevention and control of VBDs without cutting any corners for safety on Covid-19 ," Bhushan said in the letter on September 10. Entomological surveillance, source reduction activities and prompt vector control measures must be implemented for minimising the risk of transmission, the letter stated.
To enable monitoring of disease trends, Bhushan urged the states to ensure that all the reporting sites submit their reports without delay. The Rapid Response Teams should be kept ready with all necessary logistics for timely deployment to combat any fever outbreak, it said. All hospitals must be alerted for preparing contingency plans, ensure availability of necessary diagnostics, drugs and other supplies for treatment or management of VBD cases. In addition, availability of insecticides and equipment should be ensured at all levels to undertake vector and source control activities, wherever necessary, through focal insecticidal spray and fogging etc, the letter said.
Sufficient resources are already provided under the National Health Mission for undertaking these activities. Stating that multi-sectoral approach is necessary for controlling the VBDs, Bhushan said the role of departments such as Urban and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Departments is crucial. "It is requested that joint reviews may be held with the officials of these departments to ensure their active involvement in vector control activities in a concerted way. The community too must be sensitised for participation in vector control and adopt personal protection measures.
"The status and readiness for undertaking all of the above measures may personally be reviewed at your level to facilitate preventive measures, detect any potential outbreaks, for undertaking prompt and effective measures for transmission control and for providing comprehensive treatment to minimize morbidity and mortality on account of vector borne diseases," the letter said.