In an alarming trend, 177 malaria cases were reported this year in Delhi. This figure is more than the number of cases of malaria reported recently. In 2016 and 2015, for example, Delhi had reported only 90 and 60 malaria cases respectively as on July 8.
While dengue and chikungunya viruses are spread by Aedes aegypti mosquito that breeds in fresh water, malaria is proliferated by the anopheles mosquito that can multiply in dirty water. Epidemiologists say high prevalence of malaria is reflects poor hygiene standards.
"North corporation has recorded maximum 29 malaria cases, followed by south (15) and east (8). The rest of the cases have been reported from other civic agencies and neighbouring states," said an official.
The number of cases of chikungunya, which became epidemic last year and dengue is lower as contrasted with malaria this year, the official added.
As on July 8, corporations were quoted as saying that they have received reports of 161 chikungunya and 109 dengue cases from different hospitals. Doctors say that incessant rains may cause further spike in cases of mosquito-borne diseases in the next few months and focused action and awareness initiatives are required to prevent an outbreak of malaria.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 75% of all malaria cases in Southeast Asia happen in India. Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, chills and vomiting, and manifest 10 to 15 days after being infected.
"If untreated for more than 24 hours, malaria can lead to severe illness, and even result in death. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines," the WHO said.
On Wednesday, the Union health ministry unveiled its plan for eradication of malaria by 2022. Health minister J P Nadda said proposals involve strengthening malaria surveillance, setting up of a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreak of epidemic, promoting the prevention of malaria by use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and boosting manpower and capacities for proper implementation for the next five years.
"Inter-sectoral coordination is the key, we have to work together with the other ministries and municipal corporations to achieve the desired results," the minister said.