The rainy season brings with it multiple vector-borne diseases (VBDs). These diseases account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases, causing more than 7 lakh deaths annually and their burden highest being in tropical and subtropical countries, like ours. 

Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by either parasites, viruses or bacteria that are transmitted by vectors. Vectors are bloodsucking insects that can transmit infectious pathogens between humans, or from animals to humans, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.



VBDs in India:

Commonly occurring vector-borne diseases in India are malaria, dengue, chikungunya, lymphatic filariasis, leishmaniasis, Japanese encephalitis, etc.

List of vector-borne diseases, according to their vector:

Vector

Disease caused

Type of pathogen

Mosquito

Aedes

Chikungunya

Dengue

Zika

Virus

Virus

Virus

Anopheles

Malaria

Parasite

Culex

Japanese encephalitis

Lymphatic filariasis

Virus

Parasite

Fleas

Plague (from rats to humans)

Bacteria

Lice

Typhus

Louse-borne relapsing fever

Bacteria

Bacteria

Sandflies

Leishmaniasis 

Bacteria

Ticks

Lyme disease

Tick-borne encephalitis

Bacteria

Virus

5 most common vector-borne diseases occurring in India are described as under:

1. Malaria:

Malaria is one of the major health concerns in India during monsoons. Water clogging in many areas makes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It is caused by a single-celled parasite called Plasmodium. It is spread by Female Anopheles mosquitoes. It breeds in water channels and streams. Some symptoms include:

  • high fever (up to 105oF),
  • chills or shivers,
  • bodyache,
  • sweating,
  • headache and weakness, etc.

2. Dengue:

Dengue is also one of the most common disease caused during monsoons. It is caused by dengue virus (DENV). It is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquito which breeds in stagnant water (such as in buckets, coolers, broken utensils, water pipes, flower pots, drums, useless tyres, tree holes, etc.). The incubation period of dengue fever is four to seven days after being bitten, and the first signs include:

  • fever (breakbone fever),
  • joint pains,
  • headache and weakness,
  • low platelet count,
  • typical rashes,
  • hypersensitivity, etc.

3. Chikungunya:

Chikungunya is a non-fatal viral disease so called because of its distinct arthritic symptoms (stiffness and pain in bones and joints). It is caused by the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and is spread by Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and mainly bite during the day. The symptoms include:

  • high fever,
  • severe joint pain and stiffness,
  • chills,
  • headache and weakness,
  • nausea and vomiting, etc.

4. Japanese Encephalitis (JE):

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is an infection of the brain caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). The virus is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, specifically by culex type. The disease mostly occurs outside the cities, in rural and agricultural areas. While most infections result in little or no symptoms, occasional inflammation of the brain occurs. Symptoms may include:

  • fever,
  • headache,
  • confusion or disorientation,
  • seizures,
  • vomiting, etc.

5. Lymphatic Filariasis:

Lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms that only live in the human lymph system. It is spread from person to person by mosquitoes. It is transmitted by different types of mosquitoes, mainly by the Culex mosquito. The infection involves asymptomatic, acute, and chronic conditions:

  • The majority of infections are asymptomatic; however, they still cause damage to the lymphatic system and the kidneys, and alter the body's immune system.
  • Acute episodes of local inflammation involve skin, lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels. They often accompany chronic lymphoedema or elephantiasis.
  • When lymphatic filariasis develops into chronic conditions it leads to lymphoedema (tissue swelling) or elephantiasis (skin/tissue thickening) of limbs and hydrocele (scrotal swelling). Body deformities often lead to social stigma and sub-optimal mental health, loss of income-earning opportunities and increased medical expenses for patients and their family.

Prevention is better than cure:

The good part is that many of vector-borne diseases are preventable, through protective measures, and community mobilisation or by just being better informed and a little more cautious towards the health of yourself and your loved ones.

  • Avoid visiting crowded places.
  • Try to keep your home and surroundings mosquito free.
  • Don’t allow water to stagnate or collect anywhere in and around the house
  • Use mosquito repellents and wear full sleeved clothes while stepping out.
  • Use mosquito nets in your house
  • Maintain hygiene and wash your bathrooms regularly
  • Drink only boiled water
  • Eat a balanced diet and keep your immune system strong.

Role of Homeopathy:

Homeopathy has much to offer in these vector-borne diseases. Treatment is entirely based upon the totality of symptoms, i.e. the whole symptom picture presented in a patient. Frequently used medicines according to the disease are:

  • Malaria: Arnica, Cedron, China, China-sulph., Natrum-m, Psorinum, etc.
  • Dengue: Aconite, Bryonia, Eupatorium-perf., Rhus-tox, etc.
  • Chikungunya: Arsenic, Bryonia, Colchicum, Eupatorium-perf., Rhus-tox, etc.
  • Japanese Encephalitis: Apis, Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium, Zincum-met, etc.
  • Lymphatic Filariasis: Anacardium, Arsenic, Hydrastis, Hydrocotyle, Myristica, etc.


 

Taking right precautionary measures at the right time and timely visit to your nearest homeopath can keep you and your family stay safe during this vulnerable season and prevent unnecessary hospital visits and further health problems.


Avoid self-diagnosis and over-the-counter medication if you observe any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then consult your homeopathic physician immediately. For online consultation or any queries related to VBDs and other health issues, consult our expert homeopathic doctors and book an appointment with us.