As a matter of great pride and, of course, several months of some inconvenience to Delhiites, the Commonwealth Games will be held in the city in October. Playing spoilsport with several of the preparations for the gala event is the monsoon season, which has gone on for much longer than expected this year.
Predictably, one of the problems that the extended season of monsoon has brought with it is the risk of dengue fever. In the past one month, these fears and the numbers of dengue patients in the city have risen. In an attempt to curtail the spread of this potentially fatal disease, the Delhi government and the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) have proceeded on a no-holds-barred manner to ensure the safety of its citizens and the tourists who are expected to visit the city during the Games.
In order to understand prevention, it is important to know what dengue is. Dengue is a viral disease which is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Dengue has been seen in two forms: Dengue Fever and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). Dengue Fever is a severe, flu-like illness, while Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a more severe form of disease, which may cause death.
In one of its attempts to make Delhi dengue and malaria free, the MCD has launched a week-long cleanliness and sanitation drive. In a press release, municipal commissioner KS Mehra said, “The drive is aimed at controlling breeding of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes responsible for spread of dengue.” In other attempts, the use of insect repellent paint at Games venues, fumigation of colonies, and concerted efforts to ensure that water does not collect in places where mosquitoes can breed, are all being carried out.
But what are some of the things that tourists should keep in mind? Dr. Lona Mohapatra of Rockland Hospital advises that “tourists travelling to any place where a risk of dengue exists should carry with them prescription antimalarial and antipyeretic drugs (paracetamol) with them and ensure that they wear full-sleeved clothes, sleep in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms and use bed-nets.” She also advises the application of mosquito repellents (like permethrin) to skin. “The most effective repellents contain DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide)”, she says.
Dr. Mohapatra also stresses on the importance of choosing the right kind of accommodation, “Select accommodations with well-screened windows or air-conditioning when possible.” She advises, “Aedes mosquitoes typically live indoors and are often found in dark, cool places such as in closets, under beds, behind curtains, and in bathrooms. A traveller should be advised to use insecticides to get rid of mosquitoes in these areas.”
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