Tips for scourge season

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  • Published 11.08.12

The outbreak of viral and bacterial diseases — dengue, malaria, flu and conjunctivitis — has set off alarm bells but the administration on Friday seemed content holding meetings and promising action.

“This is the peak season for dengue and other vector-borne diseases,” Atin Ghosh, the mayoral council member for health warned after a meeting to draw up a plan of action to tackle the outbreak.

Over 200 people in Salt Lake and the rest of Calcutta are estimated to be down with dengue, though the official figure is 51 — 40 in Calcutta and 11 in Salt Lake.

Metro compiles a to-do list to protect yourself from the ailments of the season.


Dengue: The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the dengue virus, normally bites during daytime. “Mosquito repellents should be used even during daytime and use of a mosquito net is a must while sleeping,” said a health department official. “Once a week, water should be drained out of tanks, coolers and pet bowls.”

Dengue fever is usually accompanied by headache, body ache and rashes. In haemorrhagic dengue, gum and nose bleeding are key symptoms.

“A dengue patient should have lots of fluids,” said critical care expert Subrata Maitra.

Conjunctivitis: It is mainly caused by an adenovirus and can become virulent without medical intervention.

“One should avoid rubbing eyes and hands must be washed frequently,” said ophthalmologist Abhijit Sen. “After coming out of a swimming pool, one must wash eyes with drinking water.”


Mosquito control: The civic body and the health department are jointly responsible for vector control, based on guidelines framed by the Union health ministry.

“The Aedes aegypti mosquito normally breeds in small containers that are found in most households. So civic and health department staff should survey a neighbourhood every 15 days for larvae detection,” said an official of the School of Tropical Medicine.

Methods for mosquito control include covering overhead tanks, cisterns or underground reservoirs and preventing water accumulation elsewhere.

Spraying: Temephos, an organophosphate, is a recommended larvicide. “This should be sprayed every week whenever there is an outbreak of dengue,” an official said.