Stagnant waters of any type are favorite breeding grounds for all types of mosquitoes. With the recent downpour and flooding of Chennai City and many districts in Tamil Nadu, there are pools of undrained stagnant water in many places.
Rainwater by itself is harmless, though it does carry many pathogenic material, such as bacteria, pollutants, algae, plant parts, soil, mold, fungi, amoeba, pesticides, dust, protozoa, lead, arsenic and insect parts. This kind of contamination can be expected in a large city. Pools of stagnant water or slow draining water provide ideal breeding grounds for many insects, including mosquitoes. Add poor and inadequate sanitation facilities to the mix, and an epidemic is waiting to happen.
Lay to rest the thought that Dengue mosquitoes only breed in clean water. Research has clarified that these mosquitoes may breed in clean waters sprinkled with dust or in muddy waters that have been stagnant for 6 days and more.
Dengue flourishes in Chennai, in the months of July, October, November and peaks in January. July generally is the month when the Monsoons from the west coast of India, drop a few showers in Tamil Nadu, but October and November are generally the months when the East Coast Monsoons inundate the state.
For the year 2014-2015 dengue cases and deaths are reported to be 2357 cases from January to Mid-September, which includes 5 deaths. Of the 2357 cases, 80 cases were from Chennai City. There has been a rise in the number of dengue fever cases, as against 1146 cases reported in the previous year.
The following districts in Tamil Nadu have been earmarked as high risk districts for cases of dengue fever.
Children and teenagers may not exhibit signs or symptoms in mild cases of infection. The symptoms normally surface 4 – 10 days after the person has been bitten. Signs and symptoms to watch out for:
1. High Fever (106F or 41C)
2. Pain behind the eyes
4. Bone, Muscle, and joint pain
5. Rash all over the body
6. Minor bleeding from gums or nose
7. Vomiting and nausea
Recovery is generally within a week, but in cases where the infection is severe, the following symptoms will be prevalent, as the blood clotting ability of the body drops:
1. Bleeding from the nose and mouth
2. Bleeding under the skin, which could look as if there are bruises
3. Severe abdominal pain
4. Lungs, liver and the heart show signs of distress
5. Persistent vomiting
There are 4 types of dengue viruses spread by mosquitoes that flourish around human dwellings. After a mosquito bites a human being having dengue virus, it in turns becomes the vector. When this mosquito vector bites the next person, that person gets infected with the dengue virus. If a person has had dengue fever once, though they do develop an immunity to that particular strain, they, however are now at high risk to being infected by the other three strains. Besides, such people are in the high risk category to develop dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Dengue fever vaccines are still in the nascent stage of development. Therefore, it behooves that precautionary measures be taken to stay safe.
- Live or stay in air-conditioned housing or dwellings where there are mosquito screens on windows / mosquito protective gear
- Ensure good lighting. Contrary to some understanding, that these mosquitos bite in the dawn, dusk and evening hours, it has been proved by research, that dengue causing mosquitos like to feed (bite) in the dark
- Wear long sleeved protective clothing, long pants, socks and shoes when in mosquito infested areas
- Use mosquito repellents, coils and chemicals
- Ensure you do not create mosquito breeding habitats such as old automobile tires
If you have been unfortunate to have been affected by Dengue Fever, please contact a doctor immediately and get treated.