With changing climate, India faces new challenges in controlling vector borne diseases

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With rain having covered the whole country, India is facing the appearances of diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria. But studies show that they are much more than just a monsoon problem now.

The country has reported 1,632 cases of chikungunya and 76,238 malaria cases till April. Over 9,143 cases of dengue were reported, with 19 deaths till June 24, according to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP).

Between 2010 and 2016, India has recorded a 356% increase in the number of cases of dengue, study of which has shown an epidemiological shift in its virus,

Climate change has been identified as the potential reason for the rise in dengue cases, according to a study published by The Lancet in July 2017.

“Earlier, dengue cases used to surface only around monsoon, but with climate change and other environmental factors, dengue cases occurrence is also changing. Now, we see dengue cases around the year. We need to develop a climate-based model to address this problem,” said A.C. Dhariwal, adviser at NVBDCP told Livemint.

In May, Union health minister J.P. Nadda held a meeting with 20 endemic states to check the preparedness of various agencies to prevent and manage vector-borne diseases. As per the instructions of the health ministry, all government health institutions and private hospitals and clinics have to inform the district health authority about suspected dengue cases every week or daily.

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