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     Print Edition: Nov 25, 2012

Squash that Mosquito

Once again, India is struggling to contain the outbreak of dengue fever. More than 17,000 cases have been reported across the country and some 100 people have lost lives to dengue this year, including iconic Bollywood film producer Yash Chopra.

What is dengue: It is a tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash similar to measles. It can develop into the life-threatening dengue haemorrhagic fever, which leads to bleeding and low levels of blood platelets.

How it spreads: Dengue is transmitted by several species of the Aedes mosquito. The virus has four different strains. Once infected, a person becomes immune to subsequent infection - but only to that particular strain of virus. He can still contract dengue infection from a different strain, which then leads to severe complications.

Treatment: There is no vaccine to fight the disease. Killing mosquitoes, destroying their habitat, and limiting human exposure to bites are the only ways to prevent its spread. Mild or moderate cases can be treated through oral or intravenous rehydration. In severe cases, blood transfusion is required along with intravenous fluids.

History: Dengue has become a global menace since World War II and is endemic in more than 110 countries. Its incidence has increased dramatically since the 1960s, with around 50 to 100 million people infected yearly. In India, the worst affected states are Tamil Nadu, followed by Kerala and Karnataka



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Screaming Success
A masterpiece by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch has become the most expensive artwork to be sold in a public auction. The Scream went under the hammer at a mind boggling $120 million (Rs 636 crore)! One of only four original versions of the painting, the pastel version of Munch's masterpiece is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for six months.

Far from Slapdash
Forget Botox treatment for wrinkle-free skin. Slaps across the face are apparently as effective. A Bangkok-born masseuse, Rassameesaitarn Wongsirodku, has developed a procedure whereby a person acquires a firm facial skin texture by undergoing repeated slapping on the cheeks. It is 100 per cent safe without any side effects, she claims. The 15 to 20 minute regimen costs around $350 (Rs 18,550) per session. The client stays wrinkle free for almost six months, she adds.

Late Realisation
In a recent submission to Parliament, the Ministry of Water Resources has revealed that 163 irrigation projects in the country are running behind schedule, their combined cost amounting to Rs 1.58 trillion (a trillion is one lakh crore). Of these 71 projects have been delayed by more than 10 years, another 30 are delayed by 20 to 30 years, 45 by 30 to 40 years and five blighted projects which are late by over 40 years!

Compiled by Basudha Das

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