News Flash – 2 August 2019

National News



Heavy Rain Floods Vadodara; 5 Dead, 50,000 Evacuated

A video showing a crocodile trying to catch a stray dog stranded in floodwaters goes viral.



Vadodara: Five persons were killed and over 5,000 people have been evacuated from Vadodara city which was battered by nearly 500 mm inch rainfall in 24 hours on Thursday. Meanwhile as the crocodile infested Vishwamitri river swelled and its waters overflowed into the city areas, crocodiles began surfacing in residential localities. In a video that went viral, a crocodile is seen targeting a stray dog stranded in the floodwaters in Rajstambh Society near Lalbaug. The canine, however, had a narrow escape. Volunteers of Wildlife Rescue Trust later caught the reptile, while forest officials rescued two more crocodiles from Kalali and Nizampura late on Wednesday night. The National Disaster Response Force, Army, State Disaster Response Force, local police and fire brigade teams waded through waist-high waters in most areas to rescue people. Vadodara and Surat fire brigade also joined the rescue efforts. Power supply was snapped in several areas. Defence officials said two medium lift helicopters of South Western Air Command of Indian Air Force have been stationed at Vadodara airport. Chief minister Vijay Rupani chaired a high-level meeting to review the flood situation and directed officials to deploy de-watering pumps.



Mosquitoes Tested to Curb Dengue in Tamil Nadu


Chennai: Hundreds of mosquitoes from more than 1,000 places across the state were tested for dengue virus in the last eight months as part of a new policy, helping health officials map potential viral hotspots and initiate vector control measures before an outbreak. After testing the aedes mosquitoes from 1,272 places across 43 health unit districts, officials found 273 (21.4%) samples positive for the dengue antigen. Last year, when 1,887 mosquito pools were analysed, 87 (4.6%) tested positive. Each pool has at least 25 mosquitoes. “Not all aedes carry the virus, and not every insect affected can spread the virus. A female infected mosquito injects this virus into humans. It can make the person seriously ill,” said director of public health Dr K Kolandaisamy. “So, if we know the density of dengue-infected aedes mosquitoes in the field, we prioritise that area for aggressive anti-larval measures,” he said. The aedes mosquito has killed nearly 80 people in Tamil Nadu in the last three years and resulted in hospitalisation of almost 30,000 people in the same period. Though many across the country are affected by the vector-borne viral disease, the “conducive” environment in Tamil Nadu assures a robust habitat for the mosquito. Water stored in open containers during drought times and stagnant water in items such as discarded Tyres, cups and coconut shells form the habitat for the insect. “Dengue is endemic in our disease graph. We are seeing a decline in malaria also because there is a shift in mosquito population,” said former city health officer Dr P Kuganandam.



Officials said sporadic cases are detected through the year and large clusters during drought or monsoon or during severe drought. Between 2017 and 2019, there were 500 deaths and 1.94 lakh cases in the country. Yet, year after year, Tamil Nadu has been among the top three states in dengue cases. “This year, though there was a conducive environment, we were able to control the number of cases,” Kolandaisamy said. Health workers use straw like tubes to suck mosquitoes from houses and gardens of several neighbourhoods. These insects are stored in a container. Entomologists from the Hosur based Institute of Vector Control and Zoonosis and Chennai’s State Public Health Laboratory grind mosquitoes using special equipment and subject a small portion of the ground mixture to a polymerase chain reaction test to detect the genetic material of the dengue virus in the species or an ELISA test that detects antibodies. “These are common tests done in humans. We are now doing it at the vector level. We put their eggs to test as well,” said a senior scientist. The areas for collection are chosen based on scientific criteria – areas reporting dengue cases or those with a disproportionate rise in fever cases. Sometimes, it could be due to “mosquito genic conditions” – an area filled with scrap like discarded Tyres, vehicles or unused containers that collect rainwater and provide a habitat for the insects are given priority. Areas with high migrant population are also considered as affected people may infect mosquitoes, said a senior entomologist.

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