The sudden spurt in vector-borne diseases ahead of the civic polls has left the officials of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) worried and scouring for ways to curb the rise.
The civic body is now in a dilemma over how to fight the rise in Covid cases and vector-borne diseases, simultaneously. With a prolonged rainfall in the city which continued till October, cases of malaria and dengue are on the rise. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently alerted the civic bodies regarding the rise in cases of malaria and dengue. She ordered all the municipal bodies to implement measures to curb the rise in cases.
She said, last year about 84,000 dengue tests were conducted and the rate of people infected was 2.6 per cent while this year about 1,86,000 tests were done and the rate of infection is 1.6 per cent. This year about eight people have died.
KMC officials said, this year, the rate of people infected with malaria is much higher due to the prolonged spell of heavy showers in the city which led to an increase in mosquito breeding. The KMC board member in charge of health, Atin Ghosh, has said that the rate of infection is 19 per cent higher compared to statistics of the previous year.
However, according to a KMC official, what is worrying this year, is the lack of symptoms in malaria patients. The health department of the civic body believes that this is a serious concern since several cases are not getting detected because the patients, due to lack of symptoms, are not visiting the doctors or KMC health centres and hence the lower number of tests.
Dengue has claimed several lives in Kolkata in the past and left hospitals incapacitated due to a large number of patients flooding hospitals, leading to medical establishments running out of hospital beds.
To avoid a similar situation, the KMC vector control teams have been asked to carry out surveillance in all 16 boroughs of the KMC. The high-rise and construction sites are under the scanner. Sources said, this year, from January to October more than 300 people have been infected with vector-borne diseases which include both malaria and dengue.
KMC board chairman Firhad Hakim said, “We are doing all we can from our end but people also need to be more aware and ensure they don’t let garbage or stagnant water accumulate in terraces or in their house premises. Stagnant water provides a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.”