PRO/SOAS> Dengue – India (13): (Kerala) update


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Mon 2 Oct 2023
Source: The New Indian Express [edited]

Kerala has reported 10 734 dengue cases till 30 Sep 2023, the highest
among the states in the country this year [2023]. As per the data
provided by the directorate of health services, the state recorded 38
dengue deaths during the period. The number of confirmed cases thus
far is more than double the over 4000 infections reported in the whole
of last year [2022].

According to the National Center for Vector Borne Disease Control
[NCVBC], Kerala accounted for 9770 dengue cases, out of the total 94
198 reported in the country till 17 Sep 2023. In 2nd place is
Karnataka with 9185 infections.

Dr Althaf A, epidemiologist and professor of community medicine at
Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, said more people
opting to get tested is one of the reasons for the high number of
cases in the state.

According to Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, a member of the Indian Medical
Association’s Public Health Advisory Panel, geographical and climatic
factors also lead to the rise in cases. “Kerala has abundant water
bodies and low-lying wetlands where mosquitoes can breed. Abundant
rain, particularly in the latter half of 2023, has created ideal
breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes that lay eggs in freshwater,”
he said. Dr Rajeev said population density makes it easier for
mosquitoes to spread the virus.

Aedes mosquitoes that spread dengue are aggressive day-biting
mosquitoes that can live indoors for several days. They can spread the
disease from one patient to all others sharing the same space, whether
it is a home or office. Kerala being a relatively densely populated
state, it is easy for mosquitoes to spread the virus,” he said.

“Unscientific town planning can also cause an increase in the mosquito
population,” said Dr Althaf.

“People working or living in an overcrowded area can get infected
easily,” he said.

Source reduction of mosquitoes is essential in tackling the

“We have to eradicate mosquitoes. With intermittent rains, they can
multiply. We should avoid waterlogging by cleaning surroundings and
following proper waste management methods starting from home,” he

Meanwhile, the state health department has urged the public to keep
the households and surroundings clean to avoid mosquito breeding.
Kerala has also recorded the highest number of dengue deaths this year

“The number of deaths is proportionate to the number of cases. Dengue,
in general, does not kill people. But fatalities could occur when the
2nd infection occurs from a serotype different from the 1st infection
and among people with underlying health conditions,” said Dr Rajeev.

He said specific supportive care measures are necessary to keep the
mortality rates down.

[Byline: Anna Jose]

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