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How Water Crisis Led to Severe Rise in Dengue Cases Across Tamil Nadu

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the dengue-blocking Wolbachia bacteria are seen inside a laboratory tube before being released in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares - RC1CABD69F30

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the dengue-blocking Wolbachia bacteria are seen inside a laboratory tube before being released in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares - RC1CABD69F30

Around 3,400 cases of dengue have been reported across the state of Tamil Nadu since January this year.

When the people of Tiruvallur were hit by severe water crisis, little did they know that it would eventually lead to the rise of mosquito borne disease, dengue in the town.

In order to tackle the severe water crisis, people of Tiruvallur thought the best way to manage their affairs was to store freshwater at homes. For this, they used every drum, pot, and vessel to stock water for their everyday needs, New Indian Express reported

However, they were not aware of the fact that this fresh water storage was, in turn, proving to be a safe breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Tiruvallur is hit hard by dengue. Hospitals around the district are full, with some beds being shared by multiple persons. Health department officials have put the blame on residents, and their lack of awareness with regards to storing water.

Residents, on the other hand, are blaming the health authorities for not maintaining cleanliness in their areas. “There has been no panchayat election, so there is no local administration. As a result, there’s no surveillance or inspections,” D Palani, a resident of Tiruttani, said.

“Officials come, sprinkle some bleaching powder here and there, and go. That too, only if there are any deaths,” said Palani.

However, the report said that what the administration failed to do, students have successfully managed to do, in several areas. ‘Thooimai Thoothuvan’ or cleanliness ambassadors are students nominated by schools to carrying the message of dengue prevention.

These student ambassadors for cleanliness have proved to be effective in creating awareness. “Today, we went to a colony and found mosquitoes breeding in small cement tanks. We emptied the water and cleaned it up. We were told that containers should be washed neatly and used,” says a class X student at Government High School in Kanakammachatram. “We have been told to keep our surroundings clean from stagnation of water, remove unused containers, like coconut shells,” the student added.

Around 3,400 cases of dengue have been reported across the state of Tamil Nadu since January.


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