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Dengue poses Covid challenge in AP


Covid-10 cases are seeing a decline for the past days and giving some respite to the public as well as the over-burdened health authorities. However, increasing dengue cases have been posing new challenges. The latest data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme shows the AP has reported 527 dengue cases till September 30. The number looks very meager when compared to the cases reported in the last few years, yet health authorities who are bogged down with the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic are having a tough time taking preventive measures.

According to the data, the state had reported 5,286 dengue cases last year, the highest ever in the past six years. In 2015, about 3,159 cases and two deaths related to dengue were reported in the state, followed by 3,417 cases and two deaths in 2016, 4,925 in 2017, and 4,011 in 2018. Till September 30 this year, only 527 cases were reported in the state.

Though the data shows a massive decline in the number of dengue cases, the authorities and the people are still worried because the Covid-19 and the mosquito-borne disease have overlapping symptoms. Both Covid-19 and dengue have symptoms such as high fever, headache, and body pain, Virologists warn that dengue in this season may aggravate the Covid-19 situation as both viruses may supplement each other.

Health experts, however, say that there is no cause for worry if the disease is treated in the early stages. However, if the treatment gets delayed, the platelet count for an infected patient would come down, eventually causing immunity deficiency and also respiratory problems in some cases. To allay such fears, the authorities are conducted health campaigns and doing flu tests.

The malaria department took up vector control operations like anti-larva and anti-adult, besides conducting SERO surveys. Speaking to Hello Vizag, District Malaria Officers across the state carrying out special cleanliness drives to control the rise in seasonal diseases. The campaign of ‘Friday as dry day’ and educating people on mosquito breeding sources and measures to eradicate it, also helped in the decline.

The state government has recently introduced a mosquito control app, using which the ANMs can capture mosquito breeding sources and upload them in the app. Subsequently, village/ward health secretaries concerned will address the issue and upload a photo in the same app, which has to be approved by the ANM if satisfied. Indeed, this application yielded better results in controlling sources for vector-borne diseases.

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