Dengue, chikungunya, malaria in Delhi: Symptoms, tips to beat mosquito-borne diseases!
This season, many states across the country, including Delhi, are grappling with rising cases of mosquito-borne illnesses, mainly dengue, chikungunya, and malaria.
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: As usual, the monsoon season has brought upon us an army of infections – ranging from mild cold to severe viral pain that lasts for weeks or months - despite providing us a huge relief from the hot, humid summer weather.
This season, many states across the country, including Delhi, are grappling with rising cases of mosquito-borne illnesses, mainly dengue, chikungunya, and malaria. Here's a brief summary of these vector-borne diseases and how you can reduce your risk from becoming a victim to them.
Dengue - Causes, symptoms and treatment
As per new estimates, the national capital has recorded 771 cases of dengue till September 3, with 284 new cases in just on week and four people having succumbed to the vector-borne disease so far.
Dengue fever symptoms include fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. Dengue, if left untreated, can lead to severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever), which is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children.
Unfortunetely, there is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. Usually, paracetamol are given to patients to reduce the fever. Patients should seek medical advice, rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Both chikungunya and dengue are caused by the females of the same two species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, primarily the first.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), these mosquitoes can be found biting throughout daylight hours, though there may be peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon. Both species are found biting outdoors, but Aedes aegypti will also readily feed indoors.
Chikungunya - Symptoms, causes and treatment
Chikungunya which was not a big worry in the past years, has struck the national strongly this time with the city recording 560 cases, according to a municipal report released Tuesday, even as hospitals in the city continue to be swamped by patients affected by this vector-borne disease.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) which compiles the vector-borne disease cases report on behalf of all civic bodies, had pegged the total number of cases till August 27 at 432.
The 128 fresh cases in one week measures far too little compared to its cases being reported at hospitals, on an average close to 200 per week. Doctors say the cases are further likely to rise as peak time is from September mid to October.
The virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected female Aedes species mosquito - Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus. Symptoms of chikungunya are similar to dengue and may include fever, headache, severe and persistent joint pain, body rash. Although, it is usually not life threatening, the joint pain, which is the prominent feature of chikungunya can last for about a week or two, in some cases it can also persist for months or even longer.
Chikungunya has been identified in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Since there is no specific vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus, treatment is directed primarly at relieving symptoms using using anti-pyretics, optimal analgesics and fluids. Getting plenty of rest, taking a proper and healthy diet during and after a chikungunya fever can help the patients recover faster.
Malaria - Causes, symptoms and treatment
Furthermore, a 30-year-old man became first victim of vector-borne disease malaria in the national capital in the last five years.
Reports say that Praveen Sharma, a resident of east Delhi, was admitted to the Max super specialty hospital in east Delhi on August 28 following high fever and weakness. Tests conducted at the hospital confirmed malaria.
Sharma, who initially underwent treatment at the Max hospital, was referred to the Safdarjung Hospital after his condition deteriorated on September 2. He was kept in the Intensive Care Unit after being shifted to the Safdarjung Hospital. However, Sharma succumbed to the disease on Sunday night even after undergoing proper medication.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite, transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. As per WHO, there are more than 400 different species of Anopheles mosquito; around 30 are malaria vectors of major importance and most of them bite between dusk and dawn.
According to Mayo Clinic, malaria kills an estimated 660,000 people each year.
The WHO estimates that about 3.2 billion people - almost half of the world’s population - are at risk of malaria.
Initial symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea and vomiting (which may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria). If not treated within 24 hours, P falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.
Although life-threatening, malaria is preventable and curable. Hence, anti-malaria medication is used to treat and prevent malaria. Also, people travelling to areas where there's a risk of malaria are usually recommended to take antimalarial tablets to reduce their risk.
Mosquito-borne disease prevention tips
You can protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne diseases during the rainy season or throughout the year by avoiding getting mosquito bites by taking the following measures-
- Make sure that your window and door screens are in good repair and are properly attached to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Keep your home and surrounding areas neat and clean to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
- Empty or check any items that hold water such as - flower pots, birdbaths, buckets, cans, and barrels, etc.
- Avoid mosquito bites by wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Use mosquito repellents with 25% to 30% DEET. However, repellents with DEET should never be used on children under two months of age.
- Make sure to wear safe and effective repellent cream during peak mosquito feeding times.
- Use a mosquito bed net while sleeping
- While travelling, use repellents, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing, long sleeved shirts and long pants, hats, and socks to reduce your risk.