Friday, 17 November 2006

Wonders of Nature: Do cyclonic rains silence dengue virus?

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 30: The cyclonic rains might have left a trail of misery for 
many, but they also heralded good news for people living in dengue-hit 
The cyclone, which crossed the sea coast on Monday evening, has silenced 
the powerful dengue virus. The sudden drop in temperature followed by 
washing away of stagnant water due to heavy rains has turned the dengue 
virus dormant and its vector, mosquito, ineffective.
The rains also proved beneficial to standing crop spread over lakhs of 
hectares, particularly cotton and other commercial crops in the coastal belt. 
The rains provided the much-needed moisture to the drying up crops and 
brought smile back on the faces of farmers.
Health officials in Visakhapatnam heaved a sigh of relief as the dengue 
incidence came down in the city. "There is a sudden drop in the temperature 
from 37 degrees C to 24 degrees C. This has led to dengue virus going 
dormant. At such temperatures, the virus becomes incapable of spreading," 
Visakhapatnam municipal chief medical officer Dr M S  Raju said.
According to him, many communicable diseases turn dormant normally 
during December. But the inclement weather has advanced the dormancy 
mode. The weather came in handy for us to control further outbreaks of  
dengue, he added.
Senior health officials in Hyderabad, however, do not agree with Dr Raju. 
"The explanation is unscientific," says Dr IV Rao, director of medical 
However, both Raju and Rao agree that the rains may cause water borne 
diseases like diarrhoea. No fresh cases of dengue have been reported from
Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and rural areas of Visakhapatnam following the 
The rains have come in as a blessing in disguise for cotton farmers in 
Guntur district. Since cotton crop is in budding stage, the rains have 
stabilised the inflorescence. The flowering was about to wither away but the   
rains stabilised them. This may give a yield of four to five quintals per acre.
Farmer activist Dr Yalamanchili Sivaji said the rains had helped plantation 
of tobacco. Crops like Bengal gram and chilli have also stabilised thanks to 
the timely rains.

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