Wake Up Citizens! Wake Up, Before Zika Virus Gets You Forever!

Zika blog wake up citizens

 CAPTION

This is an Aedes aegypti mosquito.

CREDIT

Institut Pasteur

Zika virus menace is real. Why?

Infected Aedes aegypti mosquito causes Zika virus disease. The mosquito that causes the malady is the same as that for Dengue, Chikungunya and yellow fever. The first two diseases have spread virtually to all States in India. We have not controlled them yet.

One good study (PLOS “Neglected tropical diseases”, July 16, 2015) aptly highlights the importance of the health issue. The New Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research found new evidence that large numbers of people in southern India are exposed to dengue and chikungunya.

The researchers tested blood samples from 1,010 people across 50 locations in Chennai and found that nearly all of them had been exposed to dengue and 44 percent had been exposed to chikungunya. Believe it or not, almost none of the people who had been exposed to dengue reported having been infected by it, either because they weren’t properly diagnosed with the disease or because they didn’t show symptoms.
 

Zika virus is a serious health issue

On February2, 2016, The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare officially acknowledged the Menace of Zika virus disease. The agency has published its guidelines to control the spread of Zika virus.

The links:

http://www.mohfw.nic.in/showfile.php?lid=3705

http://www.mohfw.nic.in/showfile.php?lid=3706

They are good documents for their technical content; though not eminently readable! May be they are meant for specialists and not for us, lay public

For instance, lay public may not understand what it says thus under Vector Control:

         there would be enhanced integrated vector management. The measures undertaken for control of dengue/ dengue hemorrhagic fever will be further augmented. The guidelines for the integrated vector control will stress on vector surveillance (both for adult and larvae), vector management through environmental modification/ manipulation; personal protection, biological and chemical control at household, community and institutional levels. Details are at Annexure-I.

         States where dengue transmission is going on currently due to conducive weather conditions (Kerala, Tamil Nadu etc) should ensure extra vigil. 

“Annexure-I” is in no way better!  “etc” (second bullet) shows MH&FW does not know the other States which should ensure extra vigil!

Let us not worry over their readability statistics. It is time to act.

Brazil, reportedly the most hit nation uses 200,000 soldiers against their mosquitoes. You can see some telling pictures in the New York Times Today

The link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/health/zika-virus-brazil-how-it-spread-explained.html?emc=edit_th_20160207&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=26881520&_r=0

The news story is specific to Brazil. It tells you “How a Medical Mystery in Brazil Led Doctors to Zika?”

On February 5, The Hindu published a well researched article titled “Moving in for the kill” by Dr.R. Prasad. It is an excellent, timely review of the novel approaches to fight Aedes aegypti mosquito. It is a collectors’ item for those who are interested.

The link: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/moving-in-for-the-kill/article8194374.ece?homepage=true

The US National Public Radio (NPR) published the best article that answered the most relevant question “what’s-the-best-way-to-keep-mosquitoes-from biting?”

The link:

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/01/30/464740275/whats-the-best-way-to-keep-mosquitoes-from biting?

The article starts with an interesting graphic, vividly showing the results of an experiment.

Scientists released mosquitoes into a sealed chamber along with a treated hand. They tested eight commercial mosquito repellents, two fragrances and a vitamin B patch.

After four hours, they found that the most effective were products containing DEET, as well as one “natural” DEET-free spray.

DEET is the shorthand for a chemical with a tongue-twisting name, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide.

The researchers found that a product containing lemon eucalyptus oil was about as effective and as long lasting as products containing DEET.

The take-home message from the NPR article is plain and simple: “DON’T GET BITTEN BY MOSQUITOES”  

The NPR reminds us that it is “the advice offered to the public in virtually every article on the rapidly spreading, mosquito-borne Zika virus.”

Watch out! Aedes aegypti mosquito bites during the day!

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About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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