The epidemic of dengue fever in India that threatens hundreds of millions of people may be attributed to a lack of amphibians, say some naturalists, according to a ZeeNews.com report Nov. 18.
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that India officials said 30,002 people in India had been sickened with dengue fever through October, a 59 percent jump from the 18,860 recorded for all of 2011.
However, some experts say these numbers are low and the real number of Indians who get dengue fever annually is in the millions.
In India, some environmentalists say that the huge decrease in frogs has resulted in a manifold-increase in mosquito population and subsequent rise in vector borne diseases.
According to the report, Naturalist Raza H Tehsin says there is an urgent need to introduce and increase the population of weed fish in water bodies and wetlands and curbing the illegal export of frog legs.
“Frogs are almost wiped out from our subcontinent. Frogs are the major predators of mosquito larvae. In every wetland flowing or stagnant there was abundance of frogs, surviving largely on mosquito eggs and larvae,” according to Raza.
And it’s not just frogs as stated above.
The decline in the population of small fish is also responsible for population of mosquitoes going up, according to the naturalists.
Dengue fever is no doubt a major problem in India; however, it is much more than the government acknowledges according to a yet unpublished study in West Bengal that notes that the district has about the same presence of dengue as in Thailand, where almost every child is infected by dengue at least once before adulthood.
The dengue fever situation made international news in late October when it was announced that Bollywood film icon, Yash Chopra died from the mosquito borne disease.
The World Health Organization has estimated that 2.5 billion people are at risk of acquiring dengue fever and that approximately 50 million infections occur each year. It occurs in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world affecting approximately 100 countries in Africa, South and Central America, Asia, eastern Mediterranean, and western Pacific.
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