Civic body says number of cases now 26, all measures being taken to prevent spread of disease

The deaths of two persons who suffered from fever — suspected to be dengue — on Saturday, have created a scare in the city.

On Saturday, Chennai Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan, said the number of dengue cases in the city was 26. “The number of dengue cases is usually high in October and November. We are taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease,” he said.

Even though both deaths were in hospitals within the Corporation limits, one of the victims was actually a resident of a suburb.

The first death on Friday was reported at the Government Royapettah Hospital at 2.30 a.m. Samji Solomon Raja, a 26-year-old resident of the Ice House police quarters in Triplicane, did not take adequate care of his health as his family was grieving over the death of his father, his relatives said. His father, a sub-inspector, had died in an accident a few days ago.

“Only after his condition deteriorated did we take him to Government Royapettah Hospital on Tuesday,” said his younger brother Ranjith.

Resident medical officer of the hospital A. Elango said, “Investigations were carried out including tests for HIV/AIDS. The results showed he had pancytopenia, a condition in which the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets falls drastically.”

Before being admitted at Royapettah, Mr. Raja was first admitted at a private clinic in Neelankarai, his brother said. “There he was only given intravenous fluids,” added Ranjith.

In the second death, R. Sudhakar, a class XII student was declared brought dead at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. He had been suffering from fever for three days previously.

Sudhakar was a resident of Saktivel Nagar in Thiruverkaadu, a municipality on the outskirts of the city. His mother Alamelu said they had immediately consulted a neighbourhood doctor a day ago. “He said he was very weak and insisted on administering glucose. But Sudhakar started complaining of chest pain midway, so we had to stop,” said Alamelu.

The boy, a student of a government school, she said, used to go and play cricket with friends every day at 5 .30 p.m. “There is a mosquito problem in our area so we took precautions like using coils. Due to a water shortage, we drink stored water, but boil it before drinking,” his mother added.

The grief-stricken family was inconsolable. “He was just 17. He had so much more to do in life,” Sudhakar’s brother, Ayanar said. “It was with great difficulty that we hired an autorickshaw and brought him here.”

Officials at the hospital said that no investigation was done on the body as it was brought dead. The reason for the boy’s death is unknown, a doctor said.

Classic dengue fever may induce marked thrombocytopenia (a lower than normal level of platelets in the blood) in up to 50 per cent of healthy subjects, according to the World Health Organisation.

Dengue fever is generally diagnosed by the relatively characteristic sequence of high fever, rash appearance, and other symptoms in a person who has a history of recent travel to dengue-endemic areas and recalls mosquito bites. However, if not all of the symptoms or history is complete, the doctor is likely to run a number of tests to obtain a definitive diagnosis.

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