With more than 14,000 cases, Karnataka tops the dengue list in the country

BENGALURU: Up to October of this year, more than 35,079 cases have been reported from the six states of southern India, and the maximum number of them came.

According to information provided by the government in Lok sabha in reply to a question in Lok sabha during the on-going session, Karnataka tops the list of the states that has reported the maximum number of cases in the country with 14,139 cases. The killer has been spreading its tentacles across the country with the six major south Indian states registering more than 50% of the cases.

Tropical mosquito-borne disease has so far claimed 36 lives through October in the six southern states of India, including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

The data has also revealed that the country has reported 91,457 cases of dengue through October. The states of West India and Goa have reported 9,899 and 908 cases respectively. The number could increase further after the November and December figures are collected, authorities said.

Karnataka, which is better placed in terms of having better health facilities in both the private and government sectors, has witnessed a sharp increase in dengue cases. The state had registered 4,427 cases in 2018.

Of the 14,139 cases reported this year, about 70 percent of the cases were reported in Bangalore within the boundaries of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP).

Even most dengue deaths have been reported from the south. While 82 people died due to dengue in the country in 10 months, 56 deaths occurred in six southern states with Kerala reporting 16 deaths and Karnataka 13.

So why is dengue rising in southern India? According to public health experts, the lack of public awareness and the inability of the authorities to contain the threat have led to an increase in mosquito breeding sites in the state. The need is to create public awareness, which plays an important role in preventing mosquito breeding, said Pankaj Kumar Pandey, commissioner, Karnataka family health and welfare department.

The government has initiated a campaign in this regard. “The government has undertaken massive IEC activities (information, education, communication) throughout the state with. Health workers will conduct a household survey and distribute educational material and a form to complete. The head of the family can fill out the form that has questions about his understanding of mosquito control measures. We call this initiative ‘Nagarikarige Ondu Saval (A challenge for the public), which began from November 1 and continues until January 30, 2020,” he added.

Some experts believe that the dengue case notification pattern by the state could also be a reason for Karnataka to outnumber the rest of the country in dengue. Only the northern states of India that have reported a high number of cases are Uttarakhand (9574 cases) and Gujarat (8,410). Up to 12 people have succumbed to dengue in Uttarakhand and eight in Gujarat.

Interestingly, West Bengal, one of the highly populated states, has not reported a single case of dengue.