NEW DELHI: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) recommended adopting Brazil’s Zika virus awareness model to combat dengue, which has emerged as a leading cause of death in India.
Dengue’s incidence is drastically higher in countries with poor sanitation as compared to the developed nations. Last year, 97,740 cases were registered in Delhi, the highest to be recorded in the city. The subsequent death toll was 200, said S S Agarwal, the National President of IMA.
“IMA suggests that India consider the model adopted by Brazil to raise awareness on Zika virus for its fight against dengue. Educating and raising awareness is an integral part of the Brazil model. With the help of the government and armed forces, the society can be informed about the causes and consequences of dengue and its preventive measures, which need to be adopted,” he said.
IMA Secretary General K K Aggarwal said, “The transmission of dengue is actually a cycle, if the person suffering from dengue is bitten by mosquito, that mosquito gets infected and goes on infecting other healthy people and thus the cycle continues.”
“A major factor that results in the spread of the virus is through travelling, and with Delhi being the nation capital, it is a constant tourists hub all year long,” he said.
Brazil has deployed over two million armed force personnel to fight the Zika disease. These have been accompanied by mosquito control teams and community health agents to help educate people about how they can eliminate mosquito breeding zones in their neighborhood.
The teams have an ambitious target of visiting 30 lakh homes in 350 cities to hand people explanatory pamphlets, Aggarwal said.
“It is alarming that India still hasn’t been able to terminate the root causes of Dengue since 2010. This year, one of the Indian states, if not all, should adopt this type of campaign and declare war against the Aedes mosquito,” Aggarwal said.