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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Chikungunya


Down in Kerala, we grow mosquitoes the size of jumbo shrimps. They are specially trained to draw a pint of blood out of you in one sitting. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is - they attack 24-7. You are not safe, now matter what you do or wear. They can bite right through your Levis jeans; They laugh at your ‘Good-Night mats’ and ‘aama mark’ repellents. Those crap doesn't work. NOTHING DOES.


Few years ago my friend Sanjay and I visited another friend in Kochi. His place was a command central for mosquitoes. We provided an appetizing buffet for his “pets”. We must have lost a few gallons of blood that night to the mosquitoes, all of which probably flew off and died of alcohol poisoning. Sanjay had mosquito bites all over his body. Two weeks later those bites looked as if someone had burned him with a cigarette butt all over his body. The amount of mosquitoes we saw in Kochi was mind boggling; I was very alarmed that people were not doing anything to stop an impending epidemic.

The danger is no longer impending. IT IS HERE !!!. Chikungunya is spreading, assuming massive epidemic proportions. This is just a harbinger to much worse things to come. Mosquitoes are flying hypodermic needles capable of giving you fatal diseases such as malaria, chikungunya and if you so desire - a pair of giant glowing testicles.


Why this sudden raise in mosquito population in the last 15 years? My answer is:

  • Rubber plantation. I know for sure that pervasive rubber plantation is one reason. You step into a rubber estate and you will be swamped by mosquitoes.
  • Filling wet lands and farms for housing and perennial crops is another . Land fills cut off running water streams. This creates pockets of stagnant water bodies where mosquitoes live, thrive and reproduce.

Government and Individuals MUST take steps to reduce the mosquito population, and we MUST DO IT NOW, or we risk ourselves being eaten alive by the predator.

3 Comments:

Anonymous matt man said...

Payyans,
I think that there's another dimension to the whole story. It has to do with our coexistence with other creatures in this world. While it may be true -from a sufi standpoint (as Basheer has articluated in one of his masterpiece stories) - that we do not have any special rights over other living being, it is important to place the needs of humanity above those of the mosquitos.
I am wondering what the environmentalists in Kerala say about the epidemic? Do they still support the ban of DDT? Despite the public notion that they managed to create, DDT is the only succesful solution against mosquitos.
WHO recently lifted its 30 year ban against DDT. It may be prudent for the Kerala govt to look for long terms solutions such as eradicating the mosquitos using DDT.
Guess what, one Dr. Kochi was instrumental in bringing this reality to light.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/world/africa/16malaria.html?ex=1160452800&en=fd14484b4f03cb18&ei=5070

http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/JohnStossel/2006/10/04/hooray_for_ddts_life-saving_comeback

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Suhasini M said...

Matt man,
How about the thing called survival instict?

7:29 PM  
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