Mosquito menace poses big threat

Hyderabad, April 30: Malarial deaths in India are getting alarmingly high even as diseases spread by the vector mosquito cast a long shadow over the country’s surging population.

Malaria causes as much as 200,000 deaths per year before age 70 in India. The malaria-attributed mortality data gathered from India’s 600 districts includes 120,000 deaths at age group between 15 and 69 years, according to recent study appeared in Lancet, a leading medical journal.

The figures are several times higher and have an order of magnitude greater than current WHO estimates which falls in the region of only about 15,000 deaths per year in India — 5000 childhood, 10,000 thereafter.

Mosquitoes are increasingly becoming a major challenge to health today, despite all technological breakthroughs.

Casualties and deaths linked to diseases spread by mosquitoes have risen to alarming proportions more than ever.

An infant or a toddler with symptoms of malaria may be irritable and drowsy. The child may have poor appetite and trouble sleeping followed by fever, and shivering.

The fever gradually increases over the next one or two days followed by intense sweating and cooling down of body. The same pattern continues in intervals of 3-4 days.

Mosquitoes can thrive anywhere. The mosquito menace is inescapable whether we are walking in the park, shopping in the market, waiting for the bus, or if we are sitting indoors watching TV.

Mosquito repellent solutions offer some cover against the bites of these insects but are limited.

But any solution against these winged insects needs to be safe not only to humans but non-hazardous to the environment as well.

A safer repellent offered in a convenient, user-friendly manner is necessary.

Scientific Breakthrough

Scientists across the world are trying to find effective solutions to the mosquito menace, but what people need is some breakthrough in this search for an efficient mosquito prevention tool.

A new chemical — diethyl phenyl acetamide (DEPA) — appears to fit the bill. DEPA has been developed by Defence Research and Development Establishment — a wing of Defense Research & Development Organisation.

DEPA simply disorients mosquitoes from landing on the human body and stop them from biting and sucking blood, according to DRDE researchers. Mosquitoes attack us more at night time during sleep and hence it should be ensured that anything that provide cover against mosquito bites lasts for sufficiently enough time.

One single wipe with the newly formulated wet tissue containing DEPA could protect anyone from harmful mosquito bites anywhere for as much as 8 hrs regardless of whether one is indoors or outdoors.

DRDE has now shared the technology with Jyothy Laboratories Ltd, entitling them to manufacture the mosquito solutions using the agent in a commercial scale for the benefit of the public in general. Jyothy Laboratories Ltd has formulated it into an affordable, Rs 3-a piece tissue wipes under the brand name Maxo Military which can be kept in shirt pockets and used anywhere.