The Union Health Ministry has asked the states and UTs to strengthen the measures for the prevention and control of vector-borne diseases after the detection of the spread of viral and dengue fever across the country has become a matter of new concern. As per report the Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has sent similar letter to all states and UTs, to emphasize the need for acceleration of activities for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases such as dengue. Viral diseases are always on the rise during the post-monsoon season, although the limelight has been stolen from previ-ous viral illnesses by the fear of Covid-19 infection. Kerala, which is the major contributor of fresh Coronavirus cases, has a new predicament with more than 68 cases of Nipah virus which is an emerging zoonotic virus that can be transmitted from animal to people. The death of a boy from Kerala has casted apprehension of another health crisis. Kerala’s neighbouring states are on alert and keeping a watch on those coming from there. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh is fighting dengue along with cases of malaria, scrub typhus, and leptospirosis; Delhi and Maharashtra are also fighting the viral fever. Vector borne diseases are expected to linger till the temperature starts decreasing in one- or two-months’ time.
It is a matter of luck that this year the state has not witnessed any type of flood even though there has been consistent rainfall. In the past, Manipur faced spurts in malaria and Japanese Encephalitis around this time due to sporadic flooding and water inundation after rain in both the hills and plain areas. As water recedes a condition is created that is best suited for breeding of mosquitoes which in turn is responsible for viral diseases like dengue, malaria and JE in this part of the country. Over the last few years, the concentration of dengue cases has been seen in the district of Churachandpur followed by Imphal West, Imphal East, Senapati, Thoubal and Chandel districts. The number of cases has been fluctuating over the years but becoming a matter of concern with rapid urbanisation. However, the number of dengue cases lessened from 359 in 2019 to just 37 in 2020 when the current outbreak of Coronavirus took over. On the other hand, the Intensified Malaria Control Project-II which had ventured the whole demography of the state have borne fruits as the number of people suffering from malaria which was a dreadful endemic in the past has been very limited in the last decade. During the last three years, there were only 12, 16 and 18 cases of malarial cases respectively in Manipur, down from 200 reported cases in 2015. The prevalence of JE was detected in Churachandpur district in the previous year as the whole world was embroiled in battling the current pandemic. The year be-fore five persons from Senapati, Imphal East and Kangpokpi districts have succumbed to the disease, which have been detected in the state every year mostly during June to October. No confirmed cases of sizeable spurt of infection of the vector borne diseases have been reported from any part of the state so far this year. However, taking up of preventive measures by the administration and at the personal level is advisable as the level of suffering in the past will certainly be compounded for the sick persons due to the prevailing situation of pandemic. The words of advice are to avoid mosquito bites as far as possible, possibly use a mosquito net or other means to avoid mosquito bite at all times while sleeping. In addition, clogging of water flow and standing water sources should be treated with chemicals to prevent breeding of mosquitoes. The health department offices should also be alert on stand-bye to swing into action if the spread of other viral infection is detected in the state.