By: Nabeela Khan
Posted on : September 19, 2016
India has reported a marked increase in the number of people falling prey to Chikungunya. Chikungunya is caused by the same female Aedes mosquitoes that cause dengue and it affects the muscle cells of the body.
The worst suffering state is Karnataka which has almost 64% cases of the total cases in India. And drastic changes in weather this year are being blamed for the increase in number of chikungunya cases.
Since Delhi received heavy rainfall this year, it gave good breeding environment for mosquitos in Delhi as well. Stagnant pools of water and the ever on-going construction work in Delhi add more to the issue. South Delhi suffers the most since Delhi Metro work is in full swing and there are thousands of labourer families who sleep in open and are most vulnerable to the disease.
As per the latest report from Ministry of Health, Delhi reported a total of 1024 cases so far. Madhya Pradesh comes second to Delhi and also has close to one thousand cases of chikungunya.
The country reported 14656 cases from January 2016 until July 2016. Every year India is grappled in vector-borne diseases and this highlights the inadequacy of national public health programmes that aim to eliminate vector-borne diseases. Year 2015 saw the most number of cases of vector-borne diseases.
On the contrary, WHO India has critisiced the system of data collection in India and stresses upon the fact that the figures by the government does not reflect the true picture of the problem. As per the latest figures, states like Bihar, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan have no Chikungunya cases which raise alarms and zero figures from such states can be due to data not being collected at the primary level. Dearth of data in such states add more to the problem because neither the state nor people have idea what they are dealing with and how bad the situation is.
Also, one of the main issues in the battle against vector borne viruses is a high percentage of Aedes mosquito breeding occurs in households in various forms of water and therefore it is difficult to map and measure the intensity of the problem.
Surveillance, better data collection and proper systems in place to measure the depth of the problem can help India get rid or at-least handle the situation prudently. The biggest example to look upon is our close neighbour - Sri Lanka, which has completely eliminated malaria from the country and has recently been declared malaria free. If Sri Lanks can, why can’t India handle its problem of vector-borne diseases.