Saturday, September 21, 2019 | ePaper

Dengue crisis

US travel notice for Asia, Pacific, other countries

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News 18 :
A mosquito-borne disease, much like malaria, chikungunya or Zika, dengue flourishes in poorer sections of the urban society, suburbs and in the countryside. It is more typical in tropical and subtropical countries. Now rampant in several countries, The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel notice for Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas due to the ongoing risk of the disease.
While the initial symptoms of dengue are fever, aching bones and rashes, it can also be severe and even fatal, causing internal bleeding, including in the brain. Prevention from mosquito bites thus become of optimum importance in fight against dengue.
The CDC on its part has advised using an EPA-registered insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, and sleeping in an air-conditioned room or room with window screens or under an insecticide-treated bed net, when travelling to the aforementioned countries. Prevention is important as there are no specific vaccines or anti-virals for the disease.
Notably, Nepal is seeing a large-scale social awareness programme to deal with the outbreak which involves destroying mosquitoes in co-operation with local authorities and reform committees. In an interaction with International Travel & Health Insurance Journal, Prakash Shah, a doctor with Nepal's Epidemiology and Disease Control Division said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered the cleaning of public places  
around the country to control the breeding of mosquitoes that carry the disease.
Furthermore, Bangladesh has seen a sharp spike in the number of dengue infections being registered in the last one month, with a total of 50,974 people infected. Experts are worried the outbreak could spread further in coming months as the weather conditions are optimal for the breeding of the Aedes mosquitoes.
Meanwhile, East China has seen more than 600 people fall ill with dengue fever and authorities have states that they have launched an emergency response to the outbreak.
Notably, according to the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is exploring the potential use of a nuclear technique to fight dengue mosquitoes.
"Bangladesh is facing its worst dengue outbreak since 2000 and is now planning to test a nuclear technique to help stop the mosquitoes that spread the disease," it posted on Twitter.
The technique is called the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and uses radiation to sterilise male insects. Rafael Argiles Herrero, entomologist at the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture said that the SIT has been successfully implemented against numerous insects in the past and is now being adapted for use against mosquitoes.

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