Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mosquito menace haunts Mumbai, Pune airports

14/06/2017

PUNE: The threat of mosquito-borne diseases continues to loom large over the abutting areas of Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and Pune's Lohegaon Airport.

An entomological survey carried out by the officials of the Union health ministry in April showed considerable presence of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes' larvae in 400m radius outside these two airports. The team, however, confirmed that no breeding spots were found inside the airports.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the vector that transmits diseases like dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Officials said water accumulation in discarded coconut shells, plastic bottles and other scrap material in these areas provide fitting ground for mosquito breeding.

The Aedes larval surveys were carried out to assess the disease threat and suggest preventive measures. It involved container index — the percentage of containers where larvae are found.

"A container index of more than 10% is considered alarming and problematic. Container index outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was 9.4% while it was 7.1% outside the Lohegaon Airport in Pune. This shows considerable breeding of Aedes mosquito, which can touch the alarming level if immediate containment measures are not initiated," a senior official from Union heath ministry's National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) told pune-news.com.

Confirming the survey findings, Vasant Gokak, senior regional director of the Pune regional office of the Union health ministry, said, "The entomological survey was carried out at Mumbai airport and Pune airport between April 23 and April 30. NVBDCP officials had come down for this purpose. The team did find presence of aedes mosquito breeding outside, but there was no breeding spot on the airport premises."

When contacted, Anjali Sabne, deputy medical officer of health, Pune Municipal Corporation, said, "We have already intensified containment measures including spraying anti-larvicides to destroy breeding in areas outside the airport in Pune."

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