A rise in dengue cases at Dudhia on the foothills near Siliguri has sparked concerns among all. Around 15 positive cases of the virus have been reported there in the past few days, officials said. It is learnt that health workers are implementing measures to control the spread of the virus, such as destroying mosquito larvae, killing adult mosquito and checking breeding of mosquitoes in stagnant water.
According to sources at the health department, around 15 persons had been affected by dengue in the last fortnight. Also, they said that the Dudhia and surrounding areas had been recording 1012 cases of Covid-19 in the past few weeks, but that the same was “under control” now.
A total of 24 dengue cases have been detected in Darjeeling district, including the Siliguri Municipal Corporation area, rural areas in the Plains and some blocks in the Hills, this year. Health department officials said early testing of blood samples has helped in detection of dengue cases.
“It is a matter of concern that such a large number of dengue cases has been found from the same place on the foothills of Darjeeling when the situation in other areas in the district is satisfactory so far. Till a few years ago, there was hardly any mosquito density in the Hills. Steps are being taken to prevent a dengue outbreak, and we are taking measures to ensure that the cases do not rise, given the current pandemic situation,” said a senior health department official.
Sources said most of the cases were found after 10 July. Officials associated with vector control programmes said Dudhia, 26 km from Siliguri, under the Kurseong Sub-Division, sees migration of people in the area, and that it could be one of the key factors in the spurt.
Steps are being taken under the supervision of the deputy chief medical officer of health-II, Darjeeling, Dr Tulsi Pramanik, it is learnt. Around 100 blood samples of fever patients had been sent for the IgM-Elisa test at the Siliguri District Hospital.
Awareness programmes were conducted involving 2100 households, sources said. According to Dr Pramanik, after examining the adult mosquitoes trapped in the ‘light trap’ and larvae, it was found that the mosquito was the Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta) species. A dengue transmitter Aedes albopictus can exist in cold temperatures in the region of the foothills. The mosquito is found in the sub-Himalayan region. Most of the mosquito is found in the stagnant waters on the roofs of houses.
“We are keeping a close watch and our target is to reduce the number of cases to zero. We are sensitizing the people,” Dr Pramanik said. Sources said the larvae of Aedes albopictus were found in flower pots and unused tyres. There were at least 17 roof tops where stagnant water was found.
“We had focused on early detection of cases based on tests and treatment. Vector control team activities are underway, and daily spraying and awareness campaigns to remove stagnant water are being conducted,” said the Kurseong block medical officer of health, Dr Hasibul Mullik.
“Amidst Covid-19, if there is an outbreak of dengue the situation will become serious. People should not allow accumulation of water and have mosquito breeding grounds,” said a health department official associated with the vector-borne disease control programme.