Pune Civic Body’s Entomologist Post Vacant For Last 8 Years 

Pune Civic Body's Entomologist Post Vacant For Last 8 Years

Pune Civic Body's Entomologist Post Vacant For Last 8 Years

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July 8, 2024

The recent surge in Zika virus cases in Pune has underscored the critical need for entomologists to collaborate with healthcare officials in preventing vector-borne disease outbreaks. However, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), tasked with disease prevention, has been operating without an entomologist for the past eight years.

The PMC’s insect control department has two positions for entomologists—one as a biologist and the other as a fever inspector. Unfortunately, these posts have remained unfilled for over seven years. This gap is particularly concerning given the city’s susceptibility to diseases such as malaria, dengue, filaria, kala-azar, Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya, and Zika virus, all of which are transmitted by vectors.

Entomologists play a crucial role in identifying and controlling outbreaks of vector-borne diseases. Their responsibilities include detecting diseases in mosquito populations, evaluating pesticides in both laboratory and field settings, and recommending effective vector control measures.

Dr. Rajesh Dighe, Assistant Health Officer of PMC, noted that an entomological survey has commenced in affected areas. “We lack an in-house entomologist at PMC, so we are relying on support from the public health department and their team for survey and containment activities,” he explained.

Climate change, with its associated increase in precipitation, higher temperatures, and humidity, has created favorable conditions for mosquito breeding, thereby exacerbating the spread of vector-borne diseases. The ongoing monsoon season, coupled with nine reported cases of Zika virus, poses a significant challenge for the PMC.

Filling the vacant entomologist positions is essential for the health department to effectively combat vector-borne diseases and to predict and monitor future outbreaks. A senior PMC official has committed to investigating the prolonged vacancy. “I will look into the issue and check why the post has been vacant for so long,” he stated.