Climate change, men’s behaviour escalate dengue spread

By Ajita Rijal, Kathmandu, Aug 11: Stakeholders have said that dengue is spreading across the nation due to climate change, migration and human behaviour.

They have also warned that dengue outbreak may turn more deadly if concrete actions for its prevention are not taken from both at the individual and the government’s level. Even Kathmandu is at risk of dengue outbreak.

Although health workers, including the doctors and officials of the local levels have themselves engaged in the ‘search and destroy’ mosquito campaign, cases of dengue are increasing due mainly to the unchanged human behaviour, said Dr Bibek Lal, director at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under Ministry of Health and Population.

Individuals should take care of sanitation at their surrounding and destroy the potential water containers where the mosquito larvae breed, said Dr Lal.

The mosquito larva can breed in the flower pots, dishes, plastic pools, solid waste disposed places, water tanks, water-shortage containers, jars, buckets, tree holes and coconut shells. So, the individual must change the water or keep them dry so that mosquito larvae do not breed, added Dr Lal.

“We should adopt preventive measures to get rid of mosquito and launch a massive search and destroy campaign to combat the vector-borne disease,” said Dr Lal.

The Kathmandu Valley is also at high risk of spreading dengue as it is the centre of migration, said Dr Lal adding the dengue virus inspection team has found larvae at various places in the valley.

Massive awareness and legislative control mechanism should also be adopted for controlling the outbreak of dengue, said Dr Lal.

Director General of Department of Health Services Shushil Nath Pyakurel said that controlling dengue has become a challenging job as the country has implemented the three-tier government system which lacks coordination and cooperation among the representatives resulting to confusion in bearing responsibilities of the health sector.

Referring to the bigger challenge to controlling dengue spread in lack of proper coordination Dr Pyakurel said that management of human resources, logistics and kits, information and finance were the main problems faced in the dengue control drive across the nation.

“We need to disseminate adequate information on the dengue prevention measures,” said Dr Pyakurel.

The potholes of the roads and the shortage of drinking water throughout the country is also leading to the spared of dengue as the mosquito larvae breed in the water collected in the potholes on the road and buckets in homes, Dr Pyakurel added.

The number of people infected with the disease went up this year due to the effect of the climate change and pre-monsoon rains which provided a favourable environment for larvae to develop, said Dr Pyakurel.

Citing dengue disease as a matter of public health, Dr Pyakurel suggested adopting multisector approach for controlling it.

Nepal recorded 3,425 dengue cases in fiscal year 2018/19.

The State 1 has recorded the highest number of dengue patients while Karnali State has had the lowest in the fiscal year 2018/19, according to latest data.

This was revealed while unveiling a report on the cases of dengue disease for the past five years from the fiscal year 2013/014 to 2018/019.

 

The report titled ‘Status of Dengue Disease Over Past five Years’ was published by the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Department of Health Services under the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP).

For Fiscal Year 2018/19 State 1 had 3152 cases while Karnali had just one case of dengue reported. The total number of cases in the country is 3425 while only 2111dengue cases were reported in fiscal year 2017/18.

According to doctors, dengue virus is transmitted to humans when the female Aedes Aegypti mosquito bites a person.

The symptoms of dengue are high fever, severe headache and pain behind the eyes, pain in muscles and bones, rashes and back pain among others.

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