With the start of the monsoon season each year, there is an increased risk of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Considering that India is already battling coronavirus infections on a large scale, adding other transmissions can be problematic, as all three infections have more or less the same symptoms. Therefore, the prevention of such situations, especially co-infections, becomes imperative.
According to Dr. Maheshkumar M Lakhe, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Consultant, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune, if you can prevent co-infection, you can segregate patients and treat them more quickly. This will also significantly reduce the chances of incorrect treatment.
It should be noted that common dengue symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Malaria includes occasional headaches, chills, fever, vomiting, and seizures along with sweating and fatigue. Ironically, Covid-19 also has similar symptoms along with the cough. Covid-19 patients also experience respiratory disorders and loss of smell and taste. All can be life-threatening if not treated properly. Furthermore, all three infections share similar clinical and laboratory features.
Therefore, steps must be taken to avoid co-infection. Coexistence and co-infection between the three infections can put an additional burden on the country’s already troubled health infrastructure. Resources are scarce along with tremendous pressure on the treatment of Coronavirus infected patients. Testing labs will also be adversely affected.
The Indian Express report noted that district and state authorities are following a roadmap that ensures the malaria and dengue outbreak can be stopped. Apart from this, affordable and rapid tests become a prerequisite for dengue, malaria and SARS-COVID-19 infections to be distinguished. Health facilities should diagnose patients for all possible infections due to overlapping symptoms.
During the monsoon, dengue and malaria numbers can peak. Therefore, government authorities must take strong measures to ensure effective vector mosquito control strategies along with sufficient hospital and diagnostic facilities. Meanwhile, people should also religiously follow appropriate Covid behavior and all general guidelines to prevent any kind of infection. While masks are crucial for the prevention of Covid-19, people should stop the accumulation of fresh water and wear clothing that covers the arms and legs, so that infections caused by mosquitoes can be reduced.
The use of mosquito nets and repellants is important. People should also have mosquito nets on windows and doors, and cover water containers tightly with a lid, to prevent mosquito breeding.