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India: Monsoon flooding continues in Assam; risk of mosquito-borne diseases /update 1

As flooding continues to impact Assam state July 6, officials announce an increase in reported cases of mosquito-borne diseases in Delhi and elsewhere

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/7/2017, 12h00 until 6/7/2017, 11h59 (Asia/Calcutta). COUNTRY/REGION India

Event

Worsening monsoon floods continue to impact multiple states across India as of Thursday, July 6. The worst hit has been Assam state, where officials said on July 6 that more than 400,000 people have been affected - including some 41,000 who have been forced into disaster relief camps - and 18 people have been killed. Rivers in the region remain at dangerous levels and periodic rainfall is forecast through July 15.

Relatedly, recent reports indicate an increase in reported cases of mosquito-borne diseases in India so far in 2017, likely due to the early onset of the monsoon season. Officials have reported 18,760 cases of dengue across the country as of July 2, with 9104 of those reported in Kerala state. In Delhi, there has been a recent increase in this year’s number of reported cases of chikungunya (153), malaria (125), and dengue (99), with no related deaths recorded as of July 1.

Context

On Wednesday, July 5, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued its second-highest warning for heavy rain and thunderstorms for the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Assam. These warnings are set to remain in effect through at least Sunday, July 9.

The summer monsoon usually hits India from July to September. This year, the monsoon arrived in the capital New Delhi and other areas of northern India during the last week of June.

While cases of mosquito-borne diseases typically begin being reported in Delhi in June or July, in 2017 they have been reported since January, indicating the potential for much more severe outbreaks than in previous years. In 2016, a chikungunya outbreak ultimately affected 7760 people, but no cases were reported until July. In 2015, the city had its worst dengue outbreak ever, affecting almost 16,000 and killing 60, but only 11 cases had been reported by the end of May.

Advice

Individuals present in affected states are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate transportation delays. In the event of flooding, keep in mind that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products.

Individuals are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (e.g., by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in a screened-in or air-conditioned room) and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds (small pockets of fresh water, such as rain water that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).

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