Kolkata: Fear of contracting Covid-19 is keeping people away from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s (KMC) dengue detection centres, threatening to negate the civic body’s drive against the mosquito-borne disease.
Those running a temperature or suffering from cough and cold or body ache are choosing to visit government hospitals or private diagnostic labs to get a Covid-19 test done, rather than visiting a KMC clinic to check if they have dengue, according to civic health officials. This being the dengue season, an outbreak could be disastrous in the midst of the pandemic, a civic official warned.
“Those with symptoms should also go for a dengue test either at our detection centres or private labs. Any delay in detection could enhance the risk factor for dengue patients. This year, it could be worse since people are afraid of visiting dengue detection centres fearing Covid infection,” said a KMC official.
A section of Rapid Action Force (RAF) workers from KMC’s vector-control wing has been keeping a special vigil on large areas of Behala, including Parnasree, Taratala, Sarsuna and Shakuntala Park following reports of sporadic cases in last one month. The KMC vector-control special wing personnel entrusted to destroy mosquito-breeding sites have reasons to worry as these neighbourhoods had registered several cases — and deaths — in August last year.
“Usually dengue cases spike from August and accordingly, we enhance our prevention drive. This year, people are more occupied with Covid-19. This could make our dengue drive more difficult in the coming months,” a KMC health department official said.
KMC sources said the civic body’s rapid action team was keeping a watch on other dengue-prone areas like Dum Dum, Cossipore, Hatibagan, Burrabazar, Girish Park, Bagbazar, Taltala, Entally, Ballygunge, Kasba, Chetla, Bhowanipore, Kidderpore, Behala, Tollygunge and areas off EM Bypass.
According to KMC officials, recent showers have created puddles that may become mosquito-breeding sites. Kolkata and south Bengal will receive light to moderate rain over the next week. Since the monsoon trough is now over south Bengal, showers will be frequent, according to the Regional Meteorological Centre. A low-pressure is set to develop over north Bay of Bengal around August 19. “It could trigger moderate rain across south Bengal, including Kolkata,” said RMC director GK Das.