Small Bite;Big Threat : Stay Safe In This Season Of Dengue & Other Vector Borne Diseases

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Monsoon results in the chaos created by Vector-Borne Diseases (VBDs) and with each passing year, it gets worse. About 190 million people worldwide suffer from VBDs every year and each year, there’s a 25% increase in dengue cases reported in India. Most of these cases are due to the futile steps to prevent mosquito breeding which is astonishing.

What are VBDs?

Vectors are organisms that transmit pathogens from one infected organism to another. They are the carriers of diseases. The common VBDs in India are Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, Japanese Encephalitis and Kala-azar. World Health Organization said,“A single mosquito bite can give you any of these vector-borne diseases.” which is absolutely true and frightening at the same time as a single bite from these small organisms is capable of causing death. Majority of common VBDs are spread through mosquitoes.

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The most common mosquito-borne diseases to watch out for:

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1. MALARIA:Malaria is caused by four different species belonging to Plasmodium genus-P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. vivax and P. ovale. Among these,P. falciparum is fatal.

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Symptoms– Malaria initiates with high fever, headache, weakness and body aches. Its diagnosis gets delayed in almost all cases as it feels like a flu initially. Later it is followed by chills, profuse sweating, and nausea.

2.DENGUE: It is caused by the dengue virus of Flavivirus genus. Recovery from dengue illness can take about a month. Symptoms usually appear after 3-14 days of infection.

Symptoms- The major symptoms are rashes and joint pains. Dengue too begins with high fever, severe headache, nausea, loss of appetite and pain behind eyes. There is no specific vaccine but patients should take proper treatment and stay hydrated.

3.CHIKUNGUNYA: Chikungunya is spread by the bite of the Aedes mosquito (which also transmits Dengue). This disease originated in Africa and it escalated to India in 2006. It is one of the most common “monsoon” diseases, however, it is not life-threatening.

Symptoms-Similar to Dengue but more severe joint pains which may last up to months.

Preventive Measures

  1. Get rid of stagnant water and keep your surroundings clean to prevent mosquito breeding.
  2. Use mosquito repellants.
  3. Sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets.
  4. Wear full-sleeved clothes with pants or trousers.
  5. Get vaccinated against potential diseases.
  6. Keep windows and doors shut after dusk.
  7. Stay hydrated and drink healthy juices to maintain immunity.
  8. Avoid eating roadside food.

Fewer Dengue cases in Delhi

This year, 58 Malaria and 29 Dengue cases have been reported compared to 146 and 518 cases (respectively) last year. This decline is due to increased awareness among the people regarding cleanliness and the efforts of the government to provide better healthcare facilities.

The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) is for the prevention and control of these vector-borne diseases. It is an integral part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). It is aimed at providing the right diagnostics and treatment especially to the poor and tribal people.

If someone suffers from fever and in case it persists, seek medical help immediately. As any delay could reduce the chance of recovery.

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Khyati Kumar
Khyati is a 21-year old bibliophile. She is a CS student who also speaks Spanish.

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