National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) data reveals that in the last two years, typhoid, dengue, malaria, scrub typhus, and influenza have emerged as a public health concern.

Key highlights:

  • Typhoid, which is a water-borne disease, was the most common disease between the years 2022 and 2024. 
  • It was followed by vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Despite a decline in occurrence, scrub typhus remained a significant concern, especially in South India. 
  • Climate change factors such as temperature, rainfall, and humidity have been exacerbating the spread of this disease in the region.
VectorDisease causedType of pathogen
MosquitoAedesChikungunyaDengueLymphatic filariasisRift Valley feverYellow FeverZikaVirusVirusParasiteVirusVirusVirus
AnophelesLymphatic filariasisMalariaParasiteParasite
CulexJapanese encephalitisLymphatic filariasisWest Nile feverVirusParasiteVirus

About Typhoid

  • Causative agent: Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (S. Typhi) – a gram-negative bacterium. 
  • Transmission: Primarily water-borne, spread through contaminated food or water. 
  • Impact in India: 
  • Approximately 4.5 million cases and 9,000 deaths annually.
  • 30% increase in cases observed during the 2023 monsoon season.

Government Initiatives: 

  • Vaccination: Typhoid Conjugated Vaccine (TCV) is mandated at birth, with the first dose given between 9-12 months. This strategy aims to build immunity early.
  • Improved Sanitation: Focus on improving access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities can significantly reduce water contamination, a key transmission route.

About Dengue

  • Causative agent: Dengue virus – transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. 
  • Transmission: Mosquito-borne, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes breeding in peri-domestic environments (around homes). 
  • Outbreaks: As of mid-November 2023, around 200,000 cases reported with Bengaluru and Delhi witnessing significant cases. 
  • Risk factors: Warmer temperatures create ideal breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes, increasing the risk. 
  • Vulnerable population: Pregnant women and infants are particularly susceptible to severe dengue. 

Government Initiatives: 

  • Vector Control: Fogging campaigns and larvicide application target mosquito breeding grounds, aiming to reduce Aedes mosquito populations.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Educating the public about preventive measures like wearing full sleeves and using mosquito nets helps minimize exposure.
  • Vaccine Development: The Serum Institute of India (SII) developed Dengvaxia, the first indigenous dengue vaccine, offering additional protection.

About Malaria 

  • Causative agent: Plasmodium parasites – transmitted by infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. 
  • Species: Five parasite species cause malaria in humans, with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax posing the greatest threat. 
  • Prevalence in India: In 2022, India accounted for 66% of the 5.2 million malaria cases reported in Southeast Asia. 
  • High-risk groups: Pregnant women, elderly adults, and young children are more vulnerable to severe malaria. 

Government Initiatives: 

  • National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP): This overarching program coordinates malaria control efforts across the country.
  • Multi-pronged Approach: The NVBDCP utilizes various strategies like: 
  • Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) with insecticides.
  • Distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs).
  • Early diagnosis and treatment with Artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs).
  • Vaccine Hope: The pre-qualification of the R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine by WHO in 2023 offers a promising tool for future control efforts.

Scrub Typhus 

  • It is also known as bush typhus.
  • Causative agent: Orientia tsutsugamushi bacteria – transmitted by larval mites (chiggers). 
  • Transmission: Spread through bites of infected chiggers. 
  • Symptoms: Fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes a rash. 

Government Initiatives: 

  • Improved surveillance: Increased awareness and monitoring of scrub typhus cases helps in timely diagnosis and treatment.
  • Antibiotic availability: Ensuring access to Doxycycline, a broad-spectrum antibiotic effective against scrub typhus, is crucial.

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Indian Historical Records Commission (IHRC)