Why Punjab has seen unprecedented rise in dengue cases this year

The delayed monsoon led to the accumulation of water in the potholes and other depressions and gave an extended opportunity to mosquitoes to multiply their numbers. (Credit: The Indian Express)

The state of Punjab has been recording a large number of cases of Dengue this year and so far the state has crossed the unprecedented number of close to 14000 cases of the fatal disease this year. According to an Indian Express report the sudden jump in the cases of Dengue in the state took place from the third week of September and within the last month as cases shot from a couple of thousand to a total of 13,849 cases as on October 26.

Why are cases of Dengue rising?
Experts have highlighted that the withdrawal of monsoon which usually takes place in September got delayed this year and it could only withdraw by October 9-10. They also said that during the monsoon period, people are substantially cautious of spreading dengue disease but after the withdrawal of monsoon the carelessness creeps in. The delayed monsoon led to the accumulation of water in the potholes and other depressions and gave an extended opportunity to mosquitoes to multiply their numbers.

Health officials have said that they found the dengue larvae in a large amount in vacant plots including in the plastic glasses, coconut shells, cisterns, discarded containers among others. Officials also said that the testing of dengue conducted this year is three times more in comparison to the number of tests conducted last year. Highlighting the fact that the number of testing labs for dengue has also increased from 30 to 39 this year, Dr Gagandeep Grover, Punjab Nodal officer for vector borne diseases told the Indian Express that due to an increase in testing the number of Dengue cases has also increased.

Precedents of large-scale dengue spread during delayed monsoon
It is not the first time that the delayed monsoon has heightened the spread of the fatal disease. The officials said that during the year 2019, on account of the delayed monsoon, the state had recorded a total of about 10400 cases. Dr Grover also said that the state also follows a pattern of increase and subsequent decline in dengue cases in alternate years.

How can the dengue threat be neutralised?
Without people’s active participation in eradicating the disease, it is almost impossible to stop the spread of dengue, said experts. Officials said that the dengue mosquitoes have a breeding timeline of 3-4 weeks and they multiply by about 100 times if their breeding is not checked. The officials said that awareness on the part of people can go a long way in controlling the breeding of the mosquitoes. Officials also said that fogging conducted on a regular basis by local bodies during evening time can also end the menace of dengue mosquitoes.

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