Argha Mukherjee(Piku): Despite poetic romanticism attached to the monsoon, in Kolkata it remains a nightmare. Recently the Dengue becomes a nuisance in the metropolis and the clinics are overcrowded.
Dengue fever is spread through mosquito and the symptoms include high fever, headache, nausea, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. Dengue has claimed more than 30 lives in Bengal including Kolkata. Currently more than 500 are being treated in different hospitals.
If the overcrowding at the hospitals and neighborhood clinics is any indication, the number of cases is much higher than reported. But official records always downplay the numbers, nitpicking over tests, case histories and the domicile status of the patients.
A 2014 study by researchers from Brandeis University of Massachusetts USA, Madurai-based Centre for Research in Medical Entomology, Delhi-based National Institute of Health and Family Welfare and the INCLEN Trust International concluded that the burden of dengue in India was the heaviest in the world.
It is cheaper to kill mosquitoes at the larvae stage. Aedes does not breed in dirty drains. It needs clear water. Due to stagnant water in desert coolers, overhead tanks, Feng Shui plants and water collecting from condensers of ACs and refrigerators, half of those infected are bitten in their own homes.
With Kolkata contributing to a large chunk of the reported cases, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has set up 16 health camps and is conducting awareness drives across the city.
The primary issue is the lack of awareness. Many don’t know about the disease and how it spreads, which is a major deterrent. We have started programmes to sanitize people, particularly in areas where cases have been reported. “We are trying to spread awareness that those who have a fever should immediately get a blood test done,” said Atin Ghosh, KMC Mayor-in-Council (Health).
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation at first was struggling to get control over the rapid spread of the dengue fever in the city. Now it is perceived that they are getting grip to cope with the menace. But can all these steps stop dengue menace in Kolkata before Puja? Hope, KMC takes major steps to prevent the menace before Bengal’s biggest festival. But one point should be noted that denial of the facts cannot be a guide to solution.