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Needed: Hygienic culture

Needed: Hygienic culture
Highlights

Global warming coupled with vagaries and omnipresent unhygienic conditions, assuming unmanageable proportions, is the genesis of pervasive threat in the form of viral diseases. 

Global warming coupled with vagaries and omnipresent unhygienic conditions, assuming unmanageable proportions, is the genesis of pervasive threat in the form of viral diseases.

For the past few years, the populace of India is being subjected to a spate of afflictions like dengue, chikungunya, swine flu and some other yet-to-be properly understood fevers caused by viral mutations.

Though medical science has made great strides in discovering palliatives for many of the common diseases, lack of preventive solution against incarnation of the virus into disease-causing forms continues to pose a major challenge to scientists across the globe.

This is rather inexplicable, considering the fact that medical fraternity has the know-how to analyse the symptoms and identify the viral causative, its source and the reasons for its mutation and proliferation.

However, according to scientists, developing a prophylactic or a vaccine against certain viral forms has proved to be difficult because of their unpredictable and untraceable mutations triggered by different extraneous and internal factors.

These external and systemic – within the human body – factors, of which there are many, are difficult to isolate which, if done, would enable the medical scientists to conceive a preventive.

Incidentally, most of these viral diseases – which for us in India are relatively new – have been in existence for long and have often manifested in African countries. But the spread of this virus is attributed to more societal exchanges among countries across the globe.

While solutions to curb the virus continue to be elusive, there is, however, a preventive that is within our control.

Mosquitoes are the vectors of many of the disease-causing viruses, among them are those which cause the dreaded dengue and chikungunya.

Unfortunately, lack of committed and consistent efforts to create healthy environment has converted a majority of locations in India into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

According to a report, both dengue and chikungunya are viral diseases spread by mosquitoes. Prolonged monsoon rains provide more stagnant water for mosquitoes that carry these diseases to breed.

Overall, the number of infections continues to rise: recorded dengue cases alone, for example, have jumped from 28,292 in 2010 to nearly 100,000 cases in 2015. The number of "official" deaths from the disease every year during this period has ranged between 110 and 242.

Dengue can be fatal, if not treated in time; and chikungunya cripples patients with excruciating joint pain. Across India, 70 people have died and more than 36,000 people have been affected by dengue since January, according to the health ministry.

The government and the civic authorities, despite being witness to the dangerous consequences have done little to create infrastructure like extensive drainage networks and sanitised conditions to prevent the problem.

However, it is unfair to put all the blame on the government, because the people are also equally responsible for the diseases growing to epidemic proportions, that could be attributed to dearth of hygiene consciousness among them.

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