Bengaluru: 2018 ended on a relatively healthier note, as the Karnataka department of health breathed a sigh of relief. The department was able to bring down the number of dengue cases in Karnataka from 17,265 in 2017 to 3,161.

The officials say that effective surveillance in the form of identifying breeding areas and destroying it, and early symptomatic treatment helped in containing the spread of dengue.

Speaking to MyNation, Dr BG Prakash, deputy director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDC), health and family welfare department, said, "The health department deputed accredited social health activists in every village and taluk. They also deployed gangmen (personnel in-charge of fumigation) in city corporation limits. Medical college students had to participate in mosquito source reduction activities every 15 days to ensure that mosquito larvae are killed. In some cases of suspected dengue, symptomatic treatment was administered to patients.”

The source reduction activity involved identifying breeding places of Aedes Aegyptie, a mosquito known to spread viruses, like water tanks, drums, water containers, stormwater drains, flower pots, old tyres and garbage heaps and fumigating them. This apart, residents were advised and consistently reminded to use insect repellent to prevent entry of mosquitoes into homes.

"Through information, education and communication on the treatment and prevention of this killer disease we were able to reduce the spread of infection," said Dr Prakash.

Notably, the highest number of cases reported were from Bengaluru city in the last two years. According to the data, 7,013 cases in 2017 and 1,266 cases in 2018 were reported in the city.