‘Major effort needed in vector control’

Dr Nirmal K Ganguly, former director general ICMR, elaborates on India's disease outbreak management strategy and the need for a national policy in disease/outbreak management


1. India is reeling under one of the work outbreaks of chikungunya and dengue this year. In your opinion what could be the reasons?
A. The major effort which is needed is the vector control in Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus. The public health measures include cleanliness, accumulation of water in tyres, water coolers, the rubber plantation as well as the palm tree collection. Current one tests have been introduced is Wolbachia and sterile mosquito technique. The other preventive measures for Dengue will be introduction of Dengue vaccine one with Sanofi is already cleared for four countries two Indian companies and Butantan vaccine will be available shortly and also one from Takeda. There is a need for cheaper and better Dengue and Chikungunya diagnostic tests.

2. What are the steps/measures taken by the government to attend to this crisis?
A. At the moment the major crisis is in Delhi and more than 1,700 cases have been reported. The government has launched a major drive for fogging and other methods for mosquito control has created policies and extra beds in hospitals and also capped the price of diagnostic tests for Chikungunya.

3. In your opinion what are the key measures needed, to curb this outbreak and prevent further spread?
A. In my opinion few key measures will be strengthening the Municipal authorities who are first group to undertake the spraying and fogging operations as well as creating public information and advocacy measures. The other measure is capacity building is case management both for Dengue and Chikungunya.

4 Dengue and chikungunya is a continuing problem in India. What is India's policy in preventing and controlling the spread of vectorborne diseases?.
A. An integrated vector management programmes which will encompass Dengue and Chikungunya and also to undertake the GIS and modelling particularly the modelling done by Pittsburgh University for the appropriate forecasting in the era of Global warming.

5. With scary viruses daunting the globe, an epidemic threat looms over India. Is India prepared to handle an epidemic outbreak?
A. Globally WHO has come up with an emergency outbreak management programme with a defined structure which includes administrative structure. This is now being put in place and NCDC as well as Institutes like National Institute of virology have put up strong surveillance networks which should prepare us better for outbreaks.


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