According to a recent municipal report, over 160 cases of dengue have been reported in the national capital until mid-July this year. This number is the highest for this period since 2018.
The report, released on Monday by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), also indicates that 54 cases of malaria have been recorded during the same timeframe. In response to the growing concern, the Delhi government has introduced a “mega action plan” to combat the spread of vector-borne diseases. Officials stated that steps will be taken to determine the serotype of the prevailing dengue virus in the city.
In order to address the issue, Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj chaired a high-level meeting on preparedness to control vector-borne diseases in the national capital. During a visit to a Delhi government hospital, he informed reporters that despite the fear of an increase in cases of dengue, chikungunya, and malaria following flooding, such a trend is not currently being observed. The majority of reported cases are related to conjunctivitis and skin allergies in relief camps.
However, Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi expressed concerns on Monday, stating that there is a possibility of a rise in dengue and malaria cases due to flooding in several areas. Oberoi mentioned that directions have been given to the relevant departments to take measures to prevent mosquito breeding and clear the silt and sludge left behind by the Yamuna waters.
The MCD report reveals that 163 cases of dengue have been reported in the national capital this year until July 15. The breakdown by month indicates 41 cases in the first half of July, 40 in June, and 23 in May.
Comparing the data for the same period (January 1 to July 15) in previous years, the number of dengue cases reported in Delhi was 158 in 2022, 40 in 2021, 28 in 2020, 32 in 2019, and 43 in 2018.
To prevent vector-borne diseases, the MCD conducted fogging and insecticide spraying in flood relief camps. The public health department of the corporation raised awareness by distributing stickers, displaying banners, and distributing oral rehydration solution (ORS) packets and bottles of chlorine for clean drinking water in these camps. Additionally, the department ensured the availability of safe drinking water by checking the chlorine levels in water tankers of the Delhi Jal Board. The existing helpline, 1031, previously used during the COVID-19 pandemic, will now also facilitate dengue treatment, providing comprehensive medical assistance.
In an effort to control mosquito populations, the MCD commissioner has been instructed to employ drones for surveillance and control, especially in vulnerable areas such as construction sites, nurseries, and abandoned houses. This innovative approach aims to identify breeding sites and implement targeted interventions to prevent disease transmission.
Recognizing the significance of raising awareness among children, “dengue homework cards” will be provided to students in both government and private schools. These cards will be reviewed weekly by class teachers to reinforce knowledge about dengue prevention and promote responsible actions. As an additional precautionary measure, schools will be advised to allow students to wear full-sleeve clothing until November to provide added protection against mosquito bites and minimize the risk of disease transmission, according to the statement.
Regarding malaria cases, the report states that for the same period (January 1 to July 15) in recent years, the numbers were as follows: 29 cases in 2022, 17 cases in 2021, 40 cases in 2020, and 75 cases in 2019.
(With PTI inputs)