‘Low-prevalent’ Beltola reeling under Dengue menace
In Ward Watch this week, G Plus checks out the undue number of dengue patients that have been afflicted in the officially certified low-prevalent Beltola
Even though the National Health Mission (NHM) declared Beltola in Ward No 28 as one of the low dengue-prevalence areas, the residents complained of high incidences of the mosquito-borne disease in the locality.
“Every week, at least one or two persons in the locality are identified to be suffering from dengue fever induced complications,” Dwipen Deka, a tea stall owner near the Beltola Tiniali, said.
Ward No 28 was ranked 23rd out of the 31 wards under Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) wards by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVDCP) under Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP), of NHM. Ward No 11 that includes Uzan Bazar topped the list.
“At least five to six flats in the residential complexes have had their family members infected by dengue. We are taking every precautionary measure to check possible areas of dengue mosquito breeding but still it could not be contained,” Sunil Pegu, security guard of a residential complex in Lakhimi Nagar at Beltola, said.
Being one of the most urbane parts of the city, Beltola, otherwise, is poised for high threat from dengue, which according to a study by the same agency tends to show high prevalence in urban areas.
“Logically, Beltola is supposed to have high incidences of dengue. The dengue fever mosquitoes breed in clear or fresh water. In urban areas, water dripping from air-conditioners and stagnating on the ground below is one of the most ideal breeding grounds for these mosquitoes. This is the same reason why Kamrup Metro has the highest prevalence of the disease among all the districts in the state,” Nanda Chakraborty, District Medical Officer of NVDCP, said.
As of December 17 this year, Kamrup (Metro) recorded the highest numbers of dengue incidences - 3,857 cases out of 5,008 cases in the state. Assam ranks 9th in the nation in this aspect; Tamil Nadu tops the list with 22,630 cases and 52 deaths.
“However, the NHM only records those cases in which a patient is admitted to the hospital. If caught at early stages, dengue can be treated. This might be a probability that people might have treated the disease when the early symptoms showed up and so, did not show up in our records,” Chakraborty added.
The early symptoms of the disease that include high fever, headache, rash and muscle and joint pain, are identical to that of influenza due to which people tend to neglect taking dengue tests. In advanced stages there is serious bleeding and shock which can be life threatening.
Two persons died of the disease this year.
Residents allege lack of regular fogging
Residents of Beltola alleged that the disease could have been controlled if there were regular fogging exercises conducted by the government.
“We did not see much fogging here. Last August, it was done once or twice by the GMC but on the main roads only. They did not go to the interiors. It did not seem to have much impact as the number of mosquitoes in the area did not seem to go down,” Amal Chandra Kataki, a resident of Beltola, said.
The residents complained that they have seen fogging only thrice in their locality.
Another resident, Sailen Medhi said, “The GMC fumigation probably aggravates the problem more than solving it. They just fumigate on the roads and the drains and miss out the houses. When fumigated on the roads, the mosquitoes happen to move towards our houses.”
Fogging in the region was so less that a few residents and apartment societies had also hired private pest control agencies to fumigate their residences.
"We have put on nets on the windows and have also tried driving mosquitoes out through fumes of herbs and coconut peels, but those did not help much. So, the apartment society decided to fumigate the entire area. It helped for a few days, but the mosquitoes seemed to come back after a week. We are doing it on a weekly basis," a resident in Palms Enclave residential complex, said.
The fogging done by GMC hardly suffices.
Fogging not the solution: councillor
More than regular fogging, the councillor of Ward No 28, Bhagya Ram Terong, vouched for raising awareness and community involvement.
"With the resources that the GMC has, regular fogging is not possible and even if it were done, it won't be able to eliminate the disease. People need to be more aware of it and they should be capable of treating it when the early symptoms starts showing. That is more important," Terong, the GMC councillor from the opposition Congress party, said.
He said that since the area is not a high dengue prevalence zone, focus for fogging is more in the other wards.
"We have asked them to conduct several fogging exercises, but they have other wards where the disease is more chronic. I cannot argue with that," Terong added.
He also encouraged the residents to take precautionary measures to check mosquito breeding in their localities.
- Ward Watch
- National Health Mission (NHM)
- Control Measures
- Guwahati Plus
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