Collective efforts hold the key in the war against Dengue By Bipin Sharma

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Year after year dengue continues to wreak havoc on the citizens in our country. Sardonically, the capital city is amongst the worst affected cities in the country with as many as 10,000 cases of dengue having been reported in the year 2010 according to an official estimate. This year too being no exception, a staggeringly high number of dengue cases have been reported from different parts of the capital city.

Water stagnation which leads to breeding of mosquitoes is supposed to be the biggest cause of dengue. Keeping dengue virus in check is the collective responsibility of the government authorities as well as the citizens, but ironically some still believe it to be the sole responsibility of the government. In coping with the dengue menace, the citizens have an equally significant role to play by not only keeping their surroundings clean, but also timely reporting the serious lapses to their concerned municipal authorities. The healthcare fraternity on the other hand, has a major role to play in ensuring the timely care of patients affected with dengue virus, as well as ridding citizens of wrong notions about dengue.

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In an exclusive chat with Ten News, Health Inspector, incharge of ward no 160, Amar Colony, Lajpat Nagar-4, Surender Singh Raghav shared, “Just like there is no smoke without fire, the fear created due to dengue is not unwarranted, however it is pertinent to put on record that the actual confirmed cases of dengue are way too less than what is being projected in Delhi especially. To a considerable extent, there is a needless panic wave created around dengue fever. Having said that, I am no way insinuating that citizens shouldn’t be resorting to preventive measures or undergoing the dengue detection test, in case they discover the Dengue fever symptoms. Talking about this season specifically, the confirmed cases of dengue have been far less compared to the scenario in 2010, or other years. For strange reasons, some hospitals are responsible for causing unnecessary panic as they are still persisting with the old Rapid Immunochromatographic Test for Diagnosis of Dengue Virus Infection. Any medical expert will concur that the Rapid Test has comparatively lesser accuracy in evaluating dengue virus compared to the more precise ‘Elisa Test’. Since some hospitals are still continuing with Rapid Test for detection of Dengue, panic is created when this test shows a positive result on a sizeable percentage of population. As far as ward no 160 is concerned, no confirmed case of dengue has so far been reported. Part of the problem is also due to lack of awareness about dengue. Water shouldn’t be stored in open vessels and tanks, and desert coolers should be cleaned properly on a regular basis. I have been delivering lectures on safety measures undertaken by our department in coping with dengue in different educational institutions of ward no. 160. This exercise helps in removing myriad preconceived notions about epidemics like malaria, dengue and chikungunya. Our staff has been working overtime in carrying out fumigation drives in different areas of our ward. Insecticides doses are being used in the right proportion and mixtures to yield the desired results. We have a well strategized advance program of both our DBC (Domestic Breeding Checkers) staff as well as A/L (Anti Larval) staff in place in ward no 160, Amar Colony. With five fumigation machines, we have been catering to the complaints of various localities in the ward. Health Hazards like Dengue can be defeated only with the full fledged support of the pubic, and not just by our working alone.

City based child specialists have advised parents to adhere to basic dos and don’ts for warding off any health eventuality.

Tanya Sharma, a US based young biotechnologist on a visit to her grandparents in India says, “With more and more people falling prey to the Dengue virus, things seem scary in Delhi presently. Frankly speaking, I am apprehensive stepping out of home, and when I do so, I adhere to all the safety guidelines. The fear of being infected with dengue virus has compelled me to shelve my shopping plans with my cousins and friends. For inexplicable reasons, some citizens still show reluctance in allowing the municipal authorities to undertake the fogging exercise at their homes failing to realize that it is in their larger interest and well being. Junk items like tyres etc where there is a strong probability of water stagnation should be disposed in households, and not preserved as treasure pieces. I wonder why authorities and proactive citizens have been inept in exploring a permanent and effective way of coping with epidemics like dengue and malaria. ‘Synergy’ holds the key if people are really serious in defeating life threatening ailments like dengue and malaria in India.”

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Points management expert Dr DK Batra, “By and large, citizens of the capital city are to be blamed as we have a callous approach towards unkempt, filthy surroundings in our habitats. Open litter lying unattended is a usual sight, and no one wishes to take initiative for reporting the matter to the concerned civic authorities. The responsibility of maintaining external hygiene and sanitation standards indubitably rests with the civic agencies, but the onus of keeping the household and surroundings clean rests with their owners and the family members. I have two small kids, and feel extremely distressed when any one falls ill during monsoons. The most common cause of these ailments are breeding of mosquitoes as well as contamination of food, water and air. The unattended garbage heaps lying outside the eateries, grocery and sweet shops in the market areas in Lajpat Nagar needs to be removed regularly. Despite being aware that water stagnation leads to mosquito breeding and subsequently outbreak of epidemics, citizens don’t execute their basic responsibilities. Because of their “chalta hai” attitude, we see outbreaks of epidemics happening in the country year after year.”

Giving his perspective on Dengue, Dr RK Tuli advises, “Dengue spreads through mosquito bites, and is preventable and curable. The disease is well controllable if timely safety measures are adhered to. One should see a doctor, and not indulge in self medication if there are dengue symptoms like high fever, headache, pain in eyes, patches and red spots, gums or nose bleeding. Platelet transfusion is not required in every case. Wear full sleeved clothes, and use mosquito repellants and nets. Tap water being contaminated, should be boiled, and not consumed directly. Drink lot of water, along with coconut water and fruit juices. Sale of cut fruit shouldn’t be allowed, and so is the case with sugarcane juice. But then who cares? Proper washing of hands before eating is a must, besides keeping food away from flies. War against Dengue can only be won with the joint efforts and cooperation of all the stakeholders in the society.”

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