Hospitals across the city have reported an increase in vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria and other monsoon-related diseases like viral fever, common flu, eye and stomach infection this year.
“There is a slow but steady rise in the number of water and vector borne diseases this season. With summer’s intense heat giving way to rains and high humidity levels, the city has registered a slight jump in the number of seasonal diseases. Hygienic surroundings, eating clean and home-cooked food, staying away from crowded places and protecting oneself from mosquitoes could go a long way in ensuring a disease-free spell,” said Delhi Medical Council member Dr. Anil Bansal.
Dengue, malaria and chikungunya have regularly been plaguing the city and figures speak for themselves. As per the Central Government data, Delhi in 2009 reported 1,153 cases of dengue and three deaths, 2010 saw 6,259 dengue cases and eight deaths, in 2011 1,131 cases and eight deaths were reported while 2012 saw 1,584 cases and four deaths (till November that year). Chikungunya cases too were reported from the city. Eighteen cases were reported in 2009, 120 in 2010, 110 in 2011 and six in 2012.
The annual surge in these diseases, especially around the monsoon, has prompted both the Central and Delhi health departments to spell out their preparedness to tackle the outbreak of diseases.
Hospitals have been instructed to keep adequate availability of dengue testing kits for proper diagnosis. They have been told to ensure that there is adequate staff, beds, blood/platelets ready to tackle the bi-annual cycle of dengue and malaria in the city.
“Availability of beds and blood/platelet will be shown on the department website from July 15 and hospitals have been asked to nominate a nodal officer who will be in touch with the Central dengue cell,” noted Delhi Health Secretary S.C.L. Das.
The Health Department has also directed their labs to be in full preparedness with reagents and chemicals.
“Inspection teams constituted by the drug controller will be sent to different blood banks in order to keep a check on the malpractices in supply chain management of blood components.,” noted a senior health official.
Also roped in this year for the cause are residents’ welfare associations and Delhi Medical Association members who will be working alongside the civic bodies under a collective programme called ‘Delhi Against Mosquito – Fight the Bite Campaign’.
“All municipal and health authorities need to work in tandem to tackle the threat effectively and we (RWAs in Delhi) are prepared to take this across the city, hand in hand with the authorities,” noted Sanjay Kaul of People’s Action.
Dr. Satish Koul of Internal Medicine at Columbia Asia Hospital said: “Every year during the summer/monsoon months, most of our focus is on dengue, especially in urban areas. We educate people on the symptoms and how to prevent the disease. Prevention is by eliminating the breeding of mosquitoes. However, we need to make people aware that complications from malaria can be life threatening too and they should not take it lightly.”
“While in most cases malaria can be treated, some strains of the disease may cause more serious problems such as damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain. Malaria may also recur in people due to absence of effective immune response, incomplete treatment and unhindered exposure to mosquito bites,” he noted.