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Inadequate Fogging Equipment Maybe Cause of Rise in Dengue Cases in Hyderabad, Say Experts

The state government says that while the cases of dengue have gone up this year, malaria cases have reduced. There have been 47 detections in Hyderabad this year while there were 206 cases in 2017 and 151 in 2018.

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Updated:September 7, 2019, 2:05 PM IST
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Inadequate Fogging Equipment Maybe Cause of Rise in Dengue Cases in Hyderabad, Say Experts
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The city of Hyderabad has plunged deep into the dengue menace this year with 372 cases have been registered until August. The number is way higher as compared to 220 cases in 2017 and 145 cases in 2018. Besides, officials aren’t confirming the number this year, saying that real picture can be higher. Dengue, a mosquito-borne disease generally occurs during the monsoon season. It’s a tropical and sub-tropical disease which can prove to be fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated on time.

The News Minute has reported that the fight against dengue in Hyderabad may have become tougher due to lack of fogging machines. The Entomology Department under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is tasked with efforts for prevention of malaria and dengue. GHMC’s anti-mosquito drive has just 13 vehicle-mounted fogging machines and 150 portable fogging machines servicing the city. They use DDT and malaria larvicidal (ML) oil to control breeding.

Now DDT is banned in most countries as well as in India for agricultural use. However, it is still being used to fight mosquitoes despite a 2018 World Health Organisation (WHO) report on insecticide resistance. The report showed data from India reporting "significantly higher" frequencies of DDT resistance in mosquitoes.

The Hyderabad District Medical Health Officer, J Vankati insists that the only way to bring down dengue rates is through prevention. However, the officer admits the existing means to combat the issue are inadequate. "We cannot differentiate between the types of mosquitoes as preventive measures for, malaria, dengue and chikungunya are the same," said the officer.

The much harmful DDT is being sprayed by the GHMC across its 150 divisions for almost a decade with over 10 million people present in the areas. With just 150 portable fogging machines for each division, a person goes door to door to fog one colony per day and covers anywhere between 50 to 100 colonies each depending on the size of the division.

As per reports, a Hyderabad-based NGO Welltech Foundation has been persistently trying to get the GHMC to improve their efforts to combat mosquitoes for close to a decade. "They used to have just six vehicles until a few years ago," says Ch Veera Chary, President of Welltech Foundation, who alleged that the anti-mosquito operations and awareness campaigns carried out by Health Department and the GHMC are not coordinated.

The state government, however, says that while the cases of dengue have gone up this year, malaria cases have reduced. There have been 47 detections in Hyderabad this year while there were 206 cases in 2017 and 151 in 2018.

To this, Chary argues that this doesn’t prove that the mosquito repelling techniques are working. "Dengue is more common in cities but malaria is more widespread in the tribal belts and villages, of Badrachalam and Adilabad districts of Telangana," he added.

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