NEW DELHI: Is fogging the solution to control dengue and chikungunya outbreak? While people and politicians both seem to believe it, the medical fraternity says that insecticides mixed with diesel should be used with caution.
“Fogging should not become a fashion. It is an emergency measure for containment of the diseases when all other measures have failed,” said Dr S K Sharma, professor and head of medicine at AIIMS.
On September 22, 2016, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched a fogging drive from his official residence. Several ministers and AAP MLAs are personally monitoring and leading the fight against mosquitoes. The BJP-ruled civic bodies, too, claim to be carrying out fogging in areas affected by the diseases. The next day, Congress members also came out with a schedule for fogging in some areas.
However, a recent advisory by World Health Organisation stated that fogging is a measure with high visibility and political appeal but of low impact, unless integrated with other control strategies. This includes regular surveillance, warning system, improved public health infrastructure and awareness.
“The insecticide used to kill mosquitoes or smoke emitted during the exercise is harmful to people suffering from respiratory health issues, for example chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can cause breathing difficulty even among healthy individuals,” said Dr Sanjeev Sinha, professor of medicine at AIIMS.
This year, more than 3,000 people have been affected by vector-borne diseases — dengue, chikungunya and malaria — as per official data. The real figure could be higher, say experts. At least four deaths due to dengue have been confirmed, while several others attributed to dengue and chikungunya are still being analysed for confirmation.
Doctors said that dengue can cause death in 1% of patients. “People should not chase platelet count for severity of the disease. It is important to look for warning signs, such as bleeding, loss of consciousness and extremely low blood pressure, among others symptoms,” said an AIIMS doctor. Chikungunya, he added, is self-limiting and maintaining hydration is key to faster recovery.