VIJAYAWADA: Over 600 dengue and 7,000 malaria cases have been registered across the State so far this year. In 2016, the total number of dengue cases registered up to the first week of July was 194, whereas 606 such cases have been reported this year. The state stands fifth in number of reported dengue cases across the country, next only to Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat. Dengue is rampant in Anantapur, Chittoor, Prakasam and Visakhapatnam.
In 2016, up to July 2, Anantapur district registered only 16 dengue cases, the corresponding figure for 2017 is 152. Similarly, even in other districts scores of people are getting affected by vector borne diseases, with those from rural and tribal being most vulnerable to viral fevers and malaria.
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda on Tuesday held a high-level meeting to review the preparedness of the Ministry for the prevention and control of vector borne diseases in the country. The minister instructed the States to conduct information, education and communication (IEC) campaigns to enhance awareness on keeping vectors in check.
Officials are busy deploying health ministry teams at affected districts to fight viral fevers, but thanks to the shortage of staff, the officials are unable to tend to several villages. Recently, the health department issued a notification for the recruitment of health officers on a contract basis.“The monsoon is reaching its peak and this is the season for mosquitoes to breed. People must take certain precautions to keep mosquitoes away,” said S Aruna Kumari, Health Department director.