Dengue cases are on the rise in Pune city with an average of five new cases reported daily over the last two months and 13 new cases have been reported on November 1. However, a study done by a team from Sinhagad College found that while residents of urban areas are aware of how dengue spreads and its symptoms, they do not do anything about it.
The doctors studied 400 houses in a house-to-house survey in urban and rural areas and found an equal number of breeding sites and samples of aedes aegypti mosquitoes in urban homes as wells as rural households.The study opens up a debate for health professionals as until now the entire focus of prevention strategy has been to spread awareness, but this study shows that even awareness might not help if people are not motivated to take action.
Dr Samir Singur and Dr Harshal Pandve from the community medicine department along with other researchers of Kashibai Navale Medical College, Pune carried out the study, which was recently published in the Dr DY Patil University’s Medical Journal.
“We surveyed 200 houses in Kondhwa and 200 in Kusgaon near Lonavla and came to the conclusion that despite having the required knowledge, urban people fail to take precautionary measures for prevention of dengue,” said Dr Pandve, co-investigator in the study.
The number of aedes aegypti mosquitoes that cause dengue is equal in both areas. However, they found that both urban and rural populations are fairly aware of the disease, but both groups failed to take precautionary measures.
“Nearly 50 per cent of the rural population is aware of the disease, but hardly 7.14 per cent of them are taking precautionary measures. Whereas, 45 per cent of the urban population is aware and only 8.25 per cent is active. This is a very small number and we need to spread awareness about the preventive measures in dengue,” he said. The doctors claim that people are more influenced by television and radio infomercials and the government must take a note of it and start utilising these channels of communication.
“In the survey we found that maximum number of people are influenced by the ads on TV and radio and so the government must start spreading awareness by these media rather than putting up notices and distributing leaflets. If people start taking precautions at the household level, it will help control dengue,” he said.
Dos and don’ts to prevent dengue
Use mosquito nets and repellents
Water stored in containers must be changed at least once a week
Waste should be discarded with care so that no water accumulates in it
Consult a doctor if you have symptoms like fever, body ache, headache, rash etc