In Delhi, it is after the many scorching summer months and a long wait and desperation for monsoon that our prayers are finally answered by God with the refreshing, cool and rejuvenating showers that hit our city around July. Every Delhite loves the early showers and there is a smile on everyone’s face knowing that the extreme heat where one cannot step out of the house, is over !
Alas, the excitement and boisterous happiness is short lived ! Not only do the heavy showers which follow the light rains cause massive water logging and traffic jam issues, the deadly mosquito borne diseases begin to surface. One has to be very lucky to be safe from the Aedes aegypti , Aedes albopictus and the female Anopheles mosquito. So, now in this period, we need to be safe in order to avoid the bite of an infected mosquito which could take you down severely with fever from Dengue, Chikungunya or malaria. The symtoms from a deadly bite cause panic with people running helter-skelter – to the nearest doctor, to the path lab and finally to hospital. The hospitals are overflowing with patients and the attendant with the patient is most likely going to be the next patient !
The much awaited monsoon brings epidemic and panic in Delhi with bed nets and mosquito repellants being used in every form one can imagine – Mosquito repellant creams, sprays, patches and even wrist bands are bought off the shelf in minutes ! Though children have been told to wear full sleeve winter clothes, how many children can actually wear them given the fact the it is so hot in 99% of schools and that they may instead faint with the heat in the non air conditioned school !
There needs to be all round awareness amongst individuals that water must not be allowed to stand anywhere in this period. There must be adequate punishment/ action taken against Government bodies, individuals or societies who do not control the breeding of mosquitoes. The frequent spraying does keep down mosquito breeding but we do know that it was banned in the West after knowing that the DDT sprays are health hazards for us and that mosquito breeding could not be fully controlled with it after some time.
With worldwide figures of approximately 214 million cases of malaria resulting in an estimated 438,000 deaths, 400 million dengue cases killing thousands of them and over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas being affected by Chikungunya, there is no need to exaggerate the gravity of the situation. It is a sincere appeal to all medical professionals, scientists, medical colleges and research organisations, to speeden up the process of whatever it is that they are doing in this direction. It is years since we are hearing of a malaria vaccine and gene engineering so as to produce only male mosquitoes and not the deadly female ones. We also read about debates about whether or not to eradicate mosquitoes ! Do hurry with a solution !
In the meanwhile, whether we like winter or not, an extreme season in delhi again, which brings with it a hoard of respiratory and heart ailments, it is in our best interest to look forward to all the breathlessness it brings since that is our only respite to the mosquito menace and our annual tryst with mosquitoes !