Nagaland: Dengue revisits but earlier than before

Nagaland: Dengue revisits but earlier than before
Mosquito-control malathion fogging operation at a place in Chumukedima in response to the dengue outbreak.

 

• Rising incidence observed over the past 2 years
• Dengue virus comes with the monsoon
• Personal precaution crucial to prevention
• Releasing larvivorous fish in drains helps

 

Morung Express News
Dimapur | August 16

 

The dengue visits Dimapur yet again. As many as 69 people have been confirmed positive for the mosquito-borne virus since July. These were out of a total suspected 390 blood samples referred for ELISA tests to the Sentinel Surveillance Site Lab, District Hospital, Dimapur as on August 16.

 

If the previous years have been any indication, the figure would in all likelihood increase as the monsoon takes its natural course and the warm weather makes way to winter.

 

It is not uncommon for the dengue virus to appear during the monsoon, the worrying part though is the incidence with data indicating an alarmingly rising trend over the past two years. Further, the period of outbreak is becoming markedly extended with the onset earlier as opposed to the previous two years.

 

The first dengue case in 2017 was detected and officially recorded in August. According to Health department figures, 8 suspected samples were analysed on August 30, 2017, out of which 6 tested positive. The last batch of samples to test positive was on December 6 with 9 testing positive out of 41. The year ended with a total of 358 positive dengue cases out of a total 1309 samples screened.

 

In 2016, the first positive case was officially recorded on October 4 with 2 samples testing positive out of 6 screened on that date. The last batch of samples to test positive was on December 10 with 5 testing positive out of 21. 2016 ended with a total of 141 positive cases out of 763 samples screened.

 

This year, the first case was detected on July 20 with 8 returning positive out of 21 samples tested at the Sentinel Lab.
Out of the 69 confirmed cases so far, one was from Mokokchung and the rest from Dimapur. The patient from Mokokchung was however originally from Assam.

 

While the outbreaks in the previous years were mostly confined to the Dimapur municipal area, it has shifted Chumukedima town this time.
According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Dimapur branch, almost all of the confirmed cases are from Chumukedima with the endemic areas confined to places along the NH 29.

 

Outbreak prevention
Queried on the control measures adopted, Dimapur District NVBDCP Officer, Dr Imliwabang Aier informed that department personnel have intensified fogging and entomological teams have been deployed to conduct house-to-house survey in places prone to have high mosquito density.
Asked on the increasing number of cases with each passing year, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. K. Vikato Kinimi said that dengue cases emerge during the monsoon and more often than not subject to the weather conditions. As has been observed, it dies down with the advent of winter to return in the summer.

 

Terming prevention at the home front as a must, he said that community participation in addition to departmental control measures should go hand in hand to control a major outbreak.

 

“The public must be aware of the advantages of keeping the surrounding clean,” he said, while adding that the dengue-carrying mosquito (Aedes Aegypti) breeds in the most unlikely of places, including flower pots. He added that it can breed in any stagnant pool of water either crystal clear or muddy and in any moist environment.

 

Besides residential dwellings, he said that garages, junkyards and tyre shops are vulnerable to becoming breeding grounds unless cleanliness is maintained.

 

In addition to fogging and keeping the surrounding free of stagnant water, he said that releasing larvivorous fish in drains helps. He cited the instance of a colony in the Dimapur municipal area experiencing lower mosquito density after larvivorous fish was released in the drains the year before.
This breed of fish can be availed free of cost from the District NVBDCP Office on any working day, he informed.

 

Dengue was first detected in Nagaland in 2009 with 25 reported cases and two suspected cases in 2010, as per an NVBDCP awareness workshop conducted in Dimapur in 2011. According to Sr. Entomologist, Kikolul Khieya, there was a lull in between with it resurfacing during 2014-15.

 

The July-October period is regarded as particularly vulnerable to the outbreak of vector borne epidemics. With no known anti-biotic or vaccine, except supportive treatment, against Dengue, “prevention is the only answer.”