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Dengue spreading its tentacles in rural Goa

Panaji: Dengue, which normally affects urban areas, is now spreading its tentacles in the rural areas of the state. Officials of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) on Wednesday said that the number of dengue cases has been increasing in rural areas and they attributed the rise to stagnant water and lack of a waste disposal system.

National vector-borne disease control programme (NVBDCP) officer of the DHS Dr Anant Palekar said that dengue, which was once known as a disease of the urban areas, has now become quite common in the rural areas of the state.

“In order to accommodate the expanding families, people today utilise rooms that were earlier used for storage of extra or unwanted things, and the unused items are kept in the open in which water gets collected and serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Besides, the garbage

generated in houses is dumped which facilitates mosquito breeding and has led to an outbreak of dengue,” said Dr Palekar. Dengue is an infectious disease caused by dengue viruses, which are transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

Dr Palekar said that earlier the waste generated in rural areas was less in quantity. However, the quantity of garbage generated is increasing day by day and in the absence of a waste disposal system, the disease has affected the rural areas. He appealed to the people to ensure that rainwater does not get accumulated, as it is one of the prime sources of dengue mosquitoes.

The state has recorded 56 cases of dengue from January till May, this year. However, in June, 68 new cases were reported, taking the total number of cases to 124 and it indicates that there is a surge in dengue cases. The number of dengue cases in the first six months of 2017 was 90.

As per the data provided by DHS, the state recorded the highest number of 293 dengue cases in 2015. Following the outbreak in 2015, the health department launched a massive drive and managed to bring down the number of such cases to 150 in 2016. Despite awareness and government’s efforts, the number of dengue cases rose to 235 in 2017.

Dr Palekar said that the majority of dengue cases reported in June this year were from Madkai, Valpoi and Vasco. He said that even though dengue cases are on the rise in Goa, there is a slight decrease in the number of cases of malaria. “We had reported 132 cases of malaria last year up to June and this year, during the same period, 115 cases have been reported. We are hoping that the number will decline in the next six months,” he said. [NT]

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