Begin typing your search...
Fight against corona helps keep dengue under check in Chennai
The desperate efforts to bring the raging pandemic under control seems to have had an unforeseen gain: the spread of dengue, which used to hit the State around this time every year, has remained low this time around.
The Greater Chennai Corporation officials had asked hospitals to put action plans in place to manage dengue cases in case of an outbreak. However, even after about a month since the monsoon hit the State, the number of dengue cases are minimal when compared to the previous years. Doctors said the disinfection procedures for COVID-19 have helped in reducing mosquito breeding as well.
According to the National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, the State had reported 6,577 dengue cases and at least five deaths in 2019, of which more than 100 cases were reported in June and July. Among the districts, Chennai had recorded the highest number of cases. The State usually records a spike in June and July every year. In contrast, only suspected fever cases have been reported at government hospitals this year so far, said doctors.
"Cases of suspected fever have been reported at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, but there are no confirmed cases of dengue in large numbers so far. Those fever cases that tested negative for COVID-19 but continue to show dengue-like symptoms are being tested," said a medical consultant at the hospital.
Health Department officials said disinfection procedures that are being undertaken for COVID-19 control have helped preventing mosquito breeding as well. "The movement of people is restricted, thus the risk of being affected by contamination is low. As there is adequate availability of water, people are not storing water in containers, which is one of the main reasons for breeding of dengue mosquito every year. Thus, the cases of dengue are less this year," said former public health director Dr K Kolandaisamy.
"The cases of dengue have not been reported in the hospital so far. But we have been testing patients for dengue for more than four months. With COVID-19 cases spiking, dengue cases are also likely to rise if the rains continue. So we have been conducting tests and taking preventive measures to prevent mosquito breeding," said Dr P Vasanthamani, Dean, Government Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital.
A senior official from Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said the public health workers have been instructed to dispose of unused containers to prevent water stagnation so that mosquito breeding can be prevented. The State Education Department has also been asked to instruct all the educational institutions to inspect the premises of the institutions that are remaining shut and check for mosquito breeding.
"We have instructed the public health workers to also take control measures against dengue. The disinfection measures are also being taken," said public health director Dr T S Selvavinayagam.