Collective action a must to prevent mosquito-borne diseases

mosquito borne diseases

New Delhi, 19 August 2017Statistics indicate that mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent in more than 100 countries. Mosquitoes infect about 300 to 500 million people, causing 1 million deaths every year around the world. More than 40 million people suffer from mosquito-borne diseases annually in India alone.

According to the IMA, on World Mosquito Day, the need of the hour is to take collective action to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, both on a larger scale and at an individual level.

Malaria, filaria and dengue are the most prevalent diseases spread by mosquitoes in India with over 2 million cases of malaria alone reported in the country. The mosquito that transmits dengue fever and chikungunya is also responsible for spreading Zika. All these diseases result in high fever and excruciating joint pains, which have been a common occurrence in the country over the last two decades.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Failure to control the mosquito menace is a collective failure and therefore, the mosquitoes transmitting diseases are still at large around the country. The Municipal Corporation, Delhi Government, Central Government, LG office, Medical Associations, CSR departments, Media, NGOs, Private sector, and individuals must act together to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. A mosquito container index above 5% requires a community-integrated cluster approach to reduce mosquito density together with effective anti-larval measures. On World Mosquito Day, it is time to remind ourselves that we need to act against all the mosquitoes, be it Aedes, Culex, or Anopheles. Action against only the Aedes mosquito will not work.”

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Rain water is the most important source for mosquito breeding and can collect in any plastic container inside or outside the house. Even collected garbage in open areas can have left over plastic cups or tiny bottle caps with rain water collections providing an ideal atmosphere for mosquito breeding.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “A community approach that involves 100% of the society needs to be adopted. Every house and establishment must indicate that their premises are mosquito-free. When you are invited to somebody’s place, you should ask ‘I hope your premises are mosquito-free’ and when you invite somebody, write ‘Welcome to my house. It is mosquito-free’.”

IMA’s approach is a war against indoor or outdoor mosquitoes; fresh stagnant or dirty water mosquitoes; small containers like bottle caps or large containers like overhead tankers; made of mud or plastic; throughout the day (early morning fogging when pupa hatch for Aedes, late night for malaria); scrubbing clean the utensils. One should not clean their premises once a week. Rather, it should become a habit to look for the breeding places daily. Here are some tips to follow.

  • Avoid stagnation of water in and around the house to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
  • Cover all containers that have water stored in them.
  • Use mosquito screens, nets, meshes and insect repellent screens regularly.
  • Do not venture out immediately after dusk. If you need to go out, make sure to wear full-sleeved clothing and apply a mosquito repellent cream.
  • If you are affected by any of these diseases, ensure that you are hydrated and well rested.
  • Follow the doctor’s advice completely and do not compromise on any checkups, etc.

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