Children below 15 years of age are most likely to contract the disease and Tondiarpet, Ambattur, Teynampett, Kodambakkam, and Adayar health zones are deemed dengue hotspots.
In August, 100 people were affected with dengue and 38 of them were children under 15 years of age while in September, of the 96 dengue cases reported, 51 were under 15. “This is not that uncommon, and in the past 11 years, we had 20 dengue outbreaks,” said State Chief Vector Control Officer S Selvakumar.
A study titled ‘Dengue in Chennai - A retrospective Study’ included data only from sentinel surveillance hospitals, which were created to monitor the rate of occurrence of specific diseases.
Mosquito menace helpline no 1913 of the Chennai corporation also received a large number of calls even after it increased fogging in the corporation hotspots and other places.
Intermittent rain is considered to be the reason for the sudden spurt in the disease as the Aedes mosquito which is the agent for dengue breeds in fresh water. Following the rains, open pots, terraces with pools of water, storage drums, and covers turned to be breeding grounds for the larvae.
Chennai has 3,621 domestic breeding checkers (DBC) who go home to home to check on the open water tanks, terraces with water pools, and other places where fresh water is standing, paving the way for breeding. Each DBC has to visit 80 homes a day but Health Department officials said these DBCs are also involved in COVID vaccination drives, which leads to them skipping the routine checks they have to do to prevent waterlogging.
A senior health official said both COVID and dengue have several similar symptoms and if there is joint pain, it could be dengue. The patient had to be treated immediately as there are possibilities of haemorrhage due to dengue.