Journal of Vector Borne Diseases

RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28--32

Prevalence of vector borne diseases in Jammu Division, Jammu and Kashmir, India


Neha Jamwal, Sanjay Bhatia 
 Department of Zoology, University of Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Neha Jamwal
Research Scholar, Department of Zoology, University of Jammu 180006, Jammu and Kashmir
India

Abstract

Background & objectives: Jammu and Kashmir is bestowed upon by great climatic condition favourable for people but the vectors have utilised these conditions to gain access into the state. Vector Borne Diseases (VBDs) were restricted to the spread of malaria and dengue since past two decades, but now, these diseases have widened their geographical reach and in last six years chikungunya, leishmaniasis and Japanese encephalitis have been reported from the state. These VBDs are a threat to thousands of people in the state as they cause huge mortality and morbidity under extreme cases. Methods: A hospital-based survey on the VBDs was carried out with the aim of studying the prevalence of major VBD found in the Jammu district taking into account the past records provided by the Directorate of Health Services, Jammu. Results: The study revealed that malaria, in the past 14 years, has now shown a clear declining trend and dengue cases have shown a very uneven trend with maximum cases in 2013. Leishmaniasis was reported for the first time in the division in 2013, while it was not until 2016 when single case of chikungunya was reported from Jammu division. First outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the region occurred during 2018 from only Doda district. Interpretation & conclusion: The present study showed that despite having congenial environmental conditions, Jammu division faces a great threat of VBDs and the increase in the number of cases in future cannot be ruled out. Japanese encephalitis registered its presence for the first time in the division.



How to cite this article:
Jamwal N, Bhatia S. Prevalence of vector borne diseases in Jammu Division, Jammu and Kashmir, India.J Vector Borne Dis 2021;58:28-32


How to cite this URL:
Jamwal N, Bhatia S. Prevalence of vector borne diseases in Jammu Division, Jammu and Kashmir, India. J Vector Borne Dis [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 9 ];58:28-32
Available from: https://www.jvbd.org/text.asp?2021/58/1/28/321746


Full Text

 Introduction



Vector borne diseases (VBDs) are a big threat to the survival of human population. The insects acting as vectors of these various diseases have become so powerful that it is almost impossible at first to diagnose the symptoms of the disease. VBDs are the root cause of about 17% of all infectious diseases accounting for 1 million deaths annually. These are prevalent in more than 100 countries affecting nearly half the world population, of which 70% belong to low income countries[1]. Mosquitoes are acknowledged widely for the spread of most VBDs and the most threatened group of people encountering these diseases comprise of children and young adults[2]. Of all the reported species of mosquitoes from tropical and subtropical regions of the world, i.e. about 3500 species, only a few species are responsible for causing VBDs[3]. In India, major public health concerns are dengue and chikungunya caused by Aedes sp., and these have shown a recent increasing trend in north India in recent years[4].

Jammu and Kashmir is the northern most state of India. The climatic conditions of this region have shielded the state against various insects causing VBDs, still, the resurgence of many insects as vectors cannot be ruled out. Owing to the huge economic significance of this group of insects causing VBDs and leading to health challenges, this hospital-based study was undertaken and the prevalence of the VBDs was studied. The vector for malaria i.e. female Anopheles mosquitoes are cosmopolitan in distribution except in the coldest regions of Antarctica and New Zealand[5] and the vector for chikungunya, Zika virus, dengue, i.e. Aedes sp. has known to occur in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the globe since last two centuries[6] and have been reported from the area of study. Sand fly species, Phlebotomus sp., causing Leishmaniasis has been recently discovered from the present study area wherein the first incidence was recorded in 2013.

 Material & Methods



Study Area

Jammu and Kashmir, the crown of India, is located between latitudes 32°15’ N & 37°5’ N and 72°35’ E & 80°20’ E, with China in the East, Pakistan in the West and Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in the South. It is the northern most region, which is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains and has an average elevation of 327 m (1,073 ft.).

Collection of Data

The data and fact sheets were collected with the assistance of the officials of the State Malariologist department, Directorate of Health Services, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir. The data was then subjected to intensive study and finally graphs and tables were formulated from the provided information for final inferences.

 Results



The observations and results are a series of figures that were obtained from the health department and later, were accessed for the prevalence of VBDs in Jammu division. From the data, malaria and dengue remained the most prevalent diseases in the area of study. Malaria, in the past few years, has shown a constant declining trend, while dengue has been a problem for people as well as the authorities concerned due to its continuous occurrence and re-occurrence. Other VBDs that were recorded from the division include chikungunya, leishmaniasis and Japanese encephalitis.

Malaria

Malaria, caused by a protozoan Plasmodium sp., was recorded to be the most prevalent VBD in the region with 5833 positive cases from last 14 years from 2005–2018. However, mortality due to this disease has not been recorded from the region uptill now. Highest number of cases were recorded during 2011(1091 cases) and since then, malaria has followed a steep declining trend in the region [Table 1] and [Figure 1]. This decline in malarial incidences is attributed to the constant efforts made by the health department.{Figure 1}{Table 1}

Dengue

Dengue was recorded as the second most prevalent disease in Jammu division with 2830 positive cases from last 14 years from 2005–2018. It is caused by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, however, Aedes albopictus is the most abundant species in the region[6]. Maximum cases of dengue were reported in 2013 (1838 cases) and mortality of four people from the study area was recorded in that year, bringing a total of seven deceased persons from dengue, so far in the region [Table 2] and [Figure 2].{Figure 2}{Table 2}

Leishmaniasis

The sand fly Plebotomus sp., causes leishmaniasis (Kala Azar). The disease was reported just from a single district of Jammu division, district Doda. This disease spreads via two primary modes, i.e. Visceral Leishmaniasis and Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. All the cases reported were of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis only. The disease hit Jammu division for the first time in 2013, where 45 cases were found positive leading to one mortality consecutively. In 2014, 95 confirmed cases were reported but no mortality was observed [Table 3] and [Figure 3].{Figure 3}{Table 3}

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is caused by Aedes[4] and was reported in Jammu division in 2016 for the first time. No previous records of this disease were observed in the province. Since then, a single case was reported in 2018. No mortality has been observed still the emergence of this disease in the area remains a matter of concern for the people as well as the health authorities [Table 4] and [Figure 4]. Japanese encephalitis{Figure 4}{Table 4}

In 2018, first incidence of Japanese Encephalitis were reported from the study area, wherein three cases, out of 26, were found positive [Table 5] and [Figure 5].{Figure 5}{Table 5}

 Discussion



VBDs are a menace for people around the globe, where billions of people are at risk. Globally, the episodes of malaria have reached approximately 500 million infections and about one million deaths annually[7]. According to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO), in India, VBDs are a threat to people as they have widened their geographical distribution and have a potential to affect almost 90% people[1]. Incidences of malaria in India account for about 69 cases per 1000 population every year targeting the economically most backward section of the society[8]. In the present study, malaria has not been found causing any death in the region and has shown a clear declining trend after 2011, which resulted in the biggest epidemic that year in the region.

Dengue has always been a matter of great concern for the health authorities in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. In the study area it was found that most of the deaths have taken place due to this disease. Occasional recurrence of dengue has been reported earlier from the region, taking into account the past five years data (2011–2015) wherein the laboratory records of the suspected patients were analysed[9]. From the present study, it was inferred that this disease which was earlier acknowledged as an urban public health problem, has now become a problem for rural areas as well since many cases were reported from rural areas. From past 14 years, dengue has shown a very unclear trend and remains a huge health concern in the province.

Leishmaniasis (Kala Azar) has been prevalent in the region since 2013, when 45 cases came into record. Earlier it was reported that in India, Kala Azar is prevalent in four states of India, viz. Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal[1]. Its emergence in non-endemic areas of Rajasthan has also been reported earlier[10]. The emergence of this disease in the region has led to the fact that this disease has increased its geographical area reaching out at the extreme pockets of the country as well. From the study, the cases were reported suffered from Cutaneous Leishmaniasis and were recorded only from Doda district of the Jammu region. This may be due to the reason that Doda area shares an adjoining line with river Chenab that makes it more humid than rest of the districts in the Jammu region.

Chikungunya is another mosquito borne disease that laid its grounds in the district in 2016. Even though the reported cases are much below the concerning levels, still its presence in the district cannot rule out the possibility of the disease becoming endemic in future. Earlier from the district, 31 cases (18.2%) out of 170 suspected cases were found positive[4].

Japanese encephalitis (JE) has been reported in South, North and Northeast states of India where approximately 1000 cases occur, scourging 100–200 people annually[11]. According to a report by WHO, JE cases in India are less than 15% due to the introduction of effective vaccine against this disease[1]. Japanese encephalitis has been a new addition to the present list of VBDs in the Jammu region that has created a huge challenge for the present prophylaxes being undertaken. Three cases were reported for the first time in Jammu division out of the total 26 suspects. Since the first instance of this disease has hit the state recently, health authorities are working out measures to stop its spread by using certain preventive measures, positive results of which would be assessed later on. Besides specific control measures, general preventive measures are also undertaken which includes;

Regular anti-larval measures (weekly/fortnightly) throughout the year. Use of biological control measures (Gambusia sp.) Anti-mosquito operations include thermal fogging in collaboration with Jammu Municipal Corporation. Anti-mosquito sprays using chemicals like Cyphenothrin 5% EC.

Maximum cases were reported from the rural areas except dengue which was prevalent in urban areas as well. Keeping in view the need of hour, the state has established 10 diagnostic centres of VBDs (nine in Jammu and one in Kashmir) for dengue and chikungunya.

 Conclusion



VBDs are a great threat to human survival where non-endemic regions are being targeted by these diseases to expand their geographical reach. VBDs cannot be stopped from being spread but preventive measures can be adopted to counter their effects. In India, VBDs pose a substantial economic burden upon the authorities and hence prophylaxes become limited for only those who afford to manage huge costs and other allied expenditure on the medication. The possibility of managing proper health and hygiene remains a bigger aspect to be worked on in a developing country like India. Again, due to improper diagnosis, absence of proper vaccine and treatments, it becomes even more challenging to counter these diseases. Moreover, efforts should be made to address people about the emerging VBDs and their effects on lives, proper sanitation methods must be implemented in both rural and urban areas by ascertaining proper dumping and disposing grounds away from the residential areas, thereby, helping them to be free from the potential threats of VBDs.

Conflict of interest: None

 Acknowledgements



Neha Jamwal has received CSIR (UGC) NET Junior Research Fellowship, India.

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