Dengue cycle part of pattern: NIV director

The National Institute of Virology (NIV) has allayed fears of anything unusual about the dengue virus circulating this season. "Like the H1N1 virus (swine flu), dengue is a seasonal phenomenon," NIV director Dr A C Mishra said. What is critical though is immediate measures to control mosquito breeding sites, he said.

Mishra, in an exclusive interview to The Indian Express said, "It is a seasonal phenomenon. We are observing a trend where every year there are cases of dengue and an emerging pattern where there is a lull for one or two years and then a rise fever cases in the next year."

While specific studies are being undertaken to learn more about this cyclic trend, it could also be related to lowering of immunity among the community that has been exposed to dengue virus. It is difficult to pin one factor on why there are more dengue fever cases in a particular year. Mishra reiterated the importance of long-term planning on prevention and control of vector-borne diseases as mosquitoes are now hitting rural pockets too.

"There is no vaccine for the disease. Mortality can be minimized by early diagnosis," he added.

Dengue fever is an outbreak-prone viral disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito that breeds in a wide variety of containers around human dwellings such as discarded tyres, earthen pots, cement tanks, flower pots, old water drums , discarded utensils, plastic containers and so on. Risk of spread of dengue in newer areas has increased due to a variety of reasons like more building construction sites, and lifestyle changes, Mishra said.

According to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) records, this year till October there were 492 cases of dengue in PMC, Pimpri-Chinchwad and surrounding areas. "Earlier, we had our diagnostic kits and reagents to test samples for dengue fever. Now we have provided test kits to more than 300 government-run health centres so that they can expedite diagnosis," Mishra said.

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