How to tackle the 10pm-4am mosquito menace

How to tackle the 10pm-4am mosquito menace
Highlights

All that it takes to keep away 1,000 malarial deaths a year is to follow basic hygiene of keeping...

All that it takes to keep away 1,000 malarial deaths a year is to follow basic hygiene of keeping surroundings clean to avoid mosquito breeding, common sense approach of keeping yourself covered when in areas infested with the bug and taking right medication

mal2Dr. Araveeti Ramayogiah

Half of the world's population is at risk from malaria. India's National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme (NVBDCP) reports about 1,000 deaths every year. A recent Lancet study said the deaths are 40 times higher than what India reports.

Malaria is a common, serious and a fatal tropical disease and a public health problem. In most parts of the world, the high transmission of malaria peaks coinciding with the onset of rains � "Malaria and monsoon go together". Malaria is caused by protozoal parasite known as plasmodia which is carried by female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Danger Signs:

  • Convulsions (Fits or seizures or twitchings), unconsciousness, drowsiness, confusion, inability to walk and speak
  • Repeated vomiting, inability to eat or drink and unable to retain oral medication
  • Passing of small quantities of urine, not passing urine at all or passing dark urine.
  • Severe diarrhoea
  • Unexplained heavy bleeding from nose and gums
  • High fever
  • Severe dehydration
  • Anaemia
  • Jaundice.

Treatment protocols: Malaria is diagnosed by microscopic examination of blood smears and Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs). In India, NVBDCP developed the best treatment protocols. Plasmodium vivax (PV) malaria to be treated with chloroquine for three days and primaquine for 14 days. Plasmodium falciparum (PF) malaria to be treated with Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) with artesunate + sulfadoxine + pyrimethamine for three days combined with a single dose of primaquine on second day. India's private sector is refractory and do not follow these protocols. There is strong need for private sector to follow NVBDCP protocols.

Preventive Steps

  • Use mosquito nets for beds.
  • Install mosquito nets for all windows and doors
  • Apply mosquito repellants to the skin.
  • Control mosquito breeding
  • Eliminate places where mosquitoes can lay eggs
  • Introduce special fish and insecticides to kill mosquito larvae.
  • Kill adult mosquitoes
  • Spray rooms with insecticides before going to bed.
  • Participate in activities carried-out by health services, such as spraying the inside walls of houses with insecticides � Indoor Residual spray (IRS).

Malaria � Travel Tips Chemoprophylaxis (use of anti-malaria drugs to prevent malaria) should start one or two weeks prior to travel to areas infested with the disease and continued 1-4 weeks after departure from the area. Travel to endemic areas with a portable mosquito net, mosquito repellants and clothes that cover most of the body.

mal3

(The writer was a Consultant (Monitoring & Evaluation) National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, (NVBDCP), A.P. and Former Medical Consultant, Indian Institute of Health & Family Welfare, Hyderabad, A.P)

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