The heavy rainfall and flooding in the city have provided conducive conditions for mosquito breeding, exacerbating the situation.
Rural areas in Darjeeling district witnessed more dengue cases this year as compared to urban areas, data provided by the health department reveal. Health officials claimed that around 37 cases had been detected in these rural areas this year.
Meanwhile, Darjeeling District Magistrate S Ponnambalam is scheduled to chair a virtual review meeting with government construction agencies like the National Highways Authority of India, Asian Highway-II, and PWD tomorrow for carrying out sanitization work at construction sites.
Apart from Dudhia, which has recorded 28 cases in the past one month only, Sukhia Pokhari, Bijanbari, Kurseong in the Hills, Sukna, Matigara, Naxalbari and Kharibari in the Plains also registered some dengue cases. Sources, however, said the unofficial figures could be higher.
“Around 37 dengue cases have been detected in the district. The cases are significantly low in the urban areas as compared to the rural areas. So far, around two cases have been found in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation area. We believe that large scale sanitization to contain Covid-19 led to larvae destruction to a large extent. We have examined adult mosquitoes trapped in the ‘light trap’ and larvae and found that the mosquito were of the Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta) species,” said an official.
Unlike the Aedes aegypti, the dengue transmitter Aedes albopictushas been found in rural areas and can exist in cold temperatures in the region. “The Aedes albopictus stays in natural containers,” said an entomologist. According to the deputy chief medical officer of health-II, Darjeeling, Dr Tulsi Pramanik, the department had started full-fledged surveillance.
“We are conducting blood tests of fever patients and conducting awareness programmes,” Dr Pramanik said. Biomedical and insecticide temephos have been used to kill mosquito larvae. Officials associated with the vector-borne disease control programme said there was a high amount of mosquito density at Dudhia, but that it had now reduced with the use of insecticide and larvicide.
The density of mosquito is calculated by the average number of mosquito bites on 10 persons per hour. Entomologists conduct a weekly surveillance to study the density. Dengue symptoms usually last for two- seven days, after an incubation period of 4-10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito.
“Our vector control teams are visiting houses and working actively. Bio-larvicide spraying and santitisation are conducted continuously. Special focus has been laid on urban and peri-urban areas,” DM, Mr Ponnambalam, said.