Saturday, October 30, 2004

Cyclone silences dengue virus!

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 30: The cyclonic rains might have left a trail of misery for many, but they also heralded good news for people living in dengue-hit areas.
The cyclone, which crossed the sea coast on Monday evening, has silenced the powerful dengue virus. The sudden drop in temperature followed by washing away of stagnant water due to heavy rains has turned the dengue virus dormant and its vector, mosquito, ineffective.
The rains also proved beneficial to standing crop spread over lakhs of hectares, particularly cotton and other commercial crops in the coastal belt. The rains provided the much-needed moisture to the drying up crops and brought smile back on the faces of farmers.
Health officials in Visakhapatnam heaved a sigh of relief as the dengue incidence came down in the city. "There is a sudden drop in the temperature from 37 degrees C to 24 degrees C. This has led to dengue virus going dormant. At such temperatures, the virus becomes incapable of spreading," Visakhapatnam municipal chief medical officer Dr M S Raju said.
According to him, many communicable diseases turn dormant normally during December. But the inclement weather has advanced the dormancy mode. The weather came in handy for us to control further outbreaks of dengue, he added.
Senior health officials in Hyderabad, however, do not agree with Dr Raju. "The explanation is unscientific," says Dr IV Rao, director of medical education.
However, both Raju and Rao agree that the rains may cause water borne diseases like diarrhoea. No fresh cases of dengue have been reported from
Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and rural areas of Visakhapatnam following the rains.
The rains have come in as a blessing in disguise for cotton farmers in Guntur district. Since cotton crop is in budding stage, the rains have stabilised the inflorescence. The flowering was about to wither away but the rains stabilised them. This may give a yield of four to five quintals per acre.
Farmer activist Dr Yalamanchili Sivaji said the rains had helped plantation of tobacco. Crops like Bengal gram and chilli have also stabilised thanks to the timely rains.