Sting op: ‘Harm­less’ mosquitoes bug city

While Culex Doesn’t Cause Dengue Or Malaria, It Still Is A Nui­sance And Health Haz­ard

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY -

breed­ing. But more im­por­tantly, drains have not been cleaned prop­erly in many places, thus pro­vid­ing them per­fect breed­ing ground,” Hazarika said.

Culex breeds in dirty, stag­nant wa­ter un­like Aedes ae­gypti mosquitoes — which trans­mit dengue and chikun­gunya — that breed in fresh, stag­nant wa­ter.

Neena Valecha, di­rec­tor of In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search’s In­sti­tute of Malaria Re­search, said anti-lar­val sprays of­ten prove less ef­fec­tive to kill mosquitoes breed­ing in the drains. “The only way to con­trol mos­quito men­ace is to keep the sur­round­ings clean and not al­low stag­na­tion of wa­ter in the drains,” she said.

Hazarika said he has writ­ten to the heads of all civic agen­cies — PWD, CPWD and DJB, for ex­am­ple – to clear the drains to con­trol mos­quito bre- ed­ing. “We are also is­su­ing chal­lans to house­holds or un­der-con­struc­tion build­ings where there is heavy breed­ing,” he added.

Culex is a vec­tor for a group of dis­eases that can be trans­mit­ted to hu­mans. This in­cludes fi­lar­i­a­sis and en­cephali­tis that have a low preva­lence in the cap­i­tal.

“Culex is a nui­sance. It bites per­sis­tently caus­ing pain and itch­ing. Over the years, I have ob­served they have be­come im­mune to most re­pel­lents. Noth­ing works on them any­more,” Nikhil Sri­vas­tava, a res­i­dent of Malviya Na­gar said. Many peo­ple have been call­ing up civic bod­ies to in­ten­sify fu­mi­ga­tion drives. But sci­en­tists say it’s just a tem­po­rary mea­sure.

“Fog­ging is a tem­po­rary in­ter­ven­tion. Civic agen­cies need to close the source, which is blocked drains,” said Dr Anoop Misra, chair­man, For­tis C-doc.

He added that once the mer­cury rises to 45 de­grees Cel­sius and be­yond, most breed­ing spots of the Culex mos­quito would dry up.

But soon the mon­soon sea­son would fol­low. And, epi­demi­ol­o­gists say, dengue and chikun­gunya may make a come­back in big num­bers again. Al­ready, 12 cases of dengue and three cases of chikun­gunya have been con­firmed as on April 14. Malaria, which is spread by Anophe­les mos­quito, has af­fected at least three peo­ple.

“The au­thor­i­ties al­ways wake up when the sit­u­a­tion goes out of con­trol. They need to start act­ing now to save the city from an­other out­break sit­u­a­tion this year,” said an ex­pert.

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