Dengue cases set alarm bells ringing in Jalandhar district

Early cases put Health Dept staff on alert; entomological survey planned

Dengue cases set alarm bells ringing in Jalandhar district

The reporting of two dengue cases in Jalandhar district has set alarm bells ringing for the Health Department. The department is also getting an entomological survey conducted to determine the reason behind the early reportage of dengue cases. - File photo

Tribune News Service

Aparna Banerji

Jalandhar, May 18

The reporting of two dengue cases in Jalandhar district has set alarm bells ringing for the Health Department. The department is also getting an entomological survey conducted to determine the reason behind the early reportage of dengue cases.

Sensing stiff opposition from residents faced by staff in various areas during dengue inspections or surveys, the Health Department has started mulling providing additional security for health teams visiting various areas

With humidity levels fluctuating between 23 per cent to 32 per cent, it is significantly early for the dengue vector.

The humidity levels in Jalandhar are currently 23 per cent. While a mean humidity of 75 to 80 per cent is conducive for the occurrence of dengue, the humidity in the district is at present at a mere 23 per cent. A vector which commonly thrives in the early or late monsoon has hit several months earlier.

While over 600 cases of dengue were reported in Jalandhar last year, this year two cases have already been reported at a time when merely a pre-emptive surveillance is conducted.

Civil Surgeon, Jalandhar, Dr Ranjit Ghotra said, “It is significantly early for dengue cases to be reported. It has also perplexed us. An entomological survey can only determine the causes of the early reportage of dengue cases. We would get it conducted soon. Two security persons are already accompanying health teams.”

For health teams comprising 15 to 16 team members (10 to 12 from the Health Department and five to six from the corporation) have been conducting surveys across 30 various hotspots designated in the district for surveillance. All the areas where two or more dengue cases were reported last year have been designated as hotspots. While the monsoon is not even here yet, the Health Department is already facing obstructions in several areas.

At some houses in Abadpura, residents refused insecticide spray by the health team, seeking fogging (which was unviable due to no case reported in the area yet) in their area instead. At some places, people refused to throw out water filled in some utensils.

Last year, too, the health teams faced considerable resistance at Bhargo Camp when residents of an area refused to empty a water drum (with potential larvae) despite repeated insistence and when health inspectors tried to issue a challan, the entire locality and the councillor gathered at the place against the health team.

Sources said in many underdeveloped areas, people refused to understand the seriousness of the dengue threat.

Epidemiologist, Jalandhar, Dr Aditya Paul said, “We are conducting a hectic surveillance across 28 to 30 areas, which are hotspots in the district. Owing to stiff opposition from residents in some areas we have also included the BCC (Behaviour Change Communication) component in out awareness programme to sensitise people to the seriousness of the disease. As far as the issue of humidity levels is concerned, the prevalence of ACs and ornamental ponds or indoor water sources sometimes creates a conducive environment for the spread of the disease.”

#dengue

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