press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
Money spent on controlling mosquitoes will have little impact if community participation in maintaining its environment is poor. By preventing mosquitoes from breeding, all diseases caused by them — malaria, dengue, filaria, chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis — can be prevented, say public health experts.
While laying emphasis on the fact that cleanliness must begin at home, they say containers used to store water must be cleaned every week and overhead tanks remain covered. “Clean your containers by scrubbing the insides with brush and dry it completely before storing water again,” explains an entomologist attached to the Tamil Nadu Health Department. The insides of large storage containers like tanks must be cleaned using bleaching powder as it will eliminate mosquito eggs, he adds.
It is necessary to follow these steps as they would prevent the aquatic stage in mosquito’s breeding cycle — from egg-laying to pupae stages. The aquatic stage lasts from a week to 10 days.
“Mosquitoes lay eggs only in water. While Culex mosquito, which spreads filaria, prefers polluted water, dengue-spreading mosquitoes prefer clean water. The Health Department deploys health workers to conduct survey of history of fever and travel to monitor disease prevalence but there is little they can do to prevent diseases if the community ignores cleanliness,” the entomologist adds.
Community medicine experts say improper disposal of plastic waste on streets and near water bodies also add to the disease burden. Mosquitoes require still water to breed and so clean water bodies ideally should not pose problems. Yet, residents near water bodies also face a serious threat.
“Though they keep away from water bodies, garbage along their edges is favourable breeding ground for mosquitoes,” says Arun Murugan, associate professor, Department of Community Medicine, Government Kilpauk Medical College.
“Care should be taken that dumping sites should not be near running water or surface water sources. First it can cause water pollution. Next, it serves as a source of breeding sites. If the garbage contains more of plastic waste, then the breeding sites increase exponentially.”
From : The Hindu