Despite steps taken by the health department and various local bodies in the Nilgiris to eliminate breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to prevent outbreak of dengue fever, seven people were confirmed positive of the mosquito-borne disease.
Health officials said that seven persons were confirmed to have contracted dengue in the Nilgiris over the last few weeks and are being treated in both Nilgiris and in Coimbatore, The Hindu reported.
The confirmed dengue cases increased health concerns among health officials of a possible outbreak in the Nilgiris.
Speaking about the same, Dr S Porkudi, Deputy Director of Health Services, Nilgiris district, said that the areas surrounding the residences of all seven people who had contracted the mosquito-borne disease dengue were inspected and all potential mosquito breeding grounds were destroyed.
Dr Porkudi added that during their inspections, they were able to confirm that there was no active breeding of the aegypti mosquitoes. Furthermore, all seven people who had contractedthe fever had travel histories to neighbouring districts from where he said they expected the patients had been exposed to the mosquitoes carriying the dengue virus.
According to the latest World malaria report, released in November 2018, there were 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, up from 217 million cases in 2016. The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 435 000 in 2017, a similar number to the previous year.
In a bid to prevent breeding ground for the mosquitoes to get established near densely populated urban areas in the Nilgiris, Udhagamandalam, Gudalur and Nelliyalam municipalities have engaged 10 designated daily-breeding checkers, who have been tasked with going door-to-door and checking on whether there are any spaces in homes or buildings where water can collect and form puddles where the mosquitoes prefer to breed.
According to health department officials, timely action, including the dispatch of teams by health departments from neighbouring districts of the Nilgiris during monsoon and consequent floods, prevented spread of the vector-borne diseases.
While there have been reports of illness in pockets of Gudalur and Pandalur, health officials after examining the areas have said there is no outbreak of dengue.
Dr Porkudi further added that after they were informed of the deaths of a father and his son within a space of a few weeks, they conducted an investigation to identify the source of the deaths, they found out that the father was an alcoholic and the deaths of him and his son were unrelated.