In the last three years the rate of infection caused due to dengue has increased by 31 per cent in Mumbai. According to a report by city-based NGO Praja Foundation, during 2017-18 there have been 27,094 cases of dengue in Mumbai, which rose to 34,535 in 2018-19. During 2019-20, the total number of dengue cases stand at 35,380.
The report also stated during the last three years, the highest number of cases were consistently reported in October. Meanwhile, according to the BMC report in 2020 Mumbai had a total of 3,161 cases of mosquito breed diseases (malaria and dengue) till August 31, out of which only 62 cases are dengue and 3,161 malaria.
"A person could be infected due to dengue only after the mosquito transmitted it. Due to lockdown people have remained indoors, the reason why cases are lower this year. However, they may increase now that unlocking has begun,” said a civic health official.
The report also mentioned that in the last three years, malaria cases had fallen by 10 per cent.
Insecticide experts from the BMC said that rain water accumulated in pits dug for real estate projects become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. "The number of real estate works including excavations made across the city for metro, has increased in the last three years, due to which the dengue cases have seen a significant rise," said Rajan Naringrekar, chief of insecticide department (BMC). He also asserted that the numbers may see a rise, unless these areas aren't filled.
Naringrekar also maintained due to the ongoing lockdown, civic officials were unable to fumigate many of the slums as the residents have gone back to their hometowns. "During the August rains, rain water had accumulated inside the slums at Mahalaxmi, Dhobi Ghat area. These areas have now become breeding ground for mosquitoes as the doors are locked and we are unable to fumigate,” he said.
More than 50 per cent of mosquito-bred diseases are from south Mumbai. Locals have blamed it on the ongoing metro work. "The road outside Churchgate station is excavated where rain water has been accumulating since 2019. There has been an increase in dengue and malaria in Marine Drive," said Anup Soni, a resident. "We have also written to the local ward office requesting daily fumigation but they say fumigation can't be carried out daily as construction works is on," Soni added.