Only 12 people have succumbed to the disease since January: health officials

Contrary to claims by the State health authorities that dengue is under control, hospitals are regularly recording cases of people suffering from the vector-borne disease. Although several dengue deaths were reported in the State this year, health officials claimed that only 12 people have succumbed to the disease since January.

In Bangalore, while more than 20 deaths have been reported, health officials deny there was any dengue death. The disease had peaked in July when more than 400 cases were reported from Bangalore alone.

With the spurt in dengue cases, the demand for platelets went up considerably in July. Finding it difficult to meet the increasing demand, blood banks were asking people to look for donors or offer blood replacement to the banks in exchange for the platelets. As most government blood banks do not have component separation facilities, poor patients visiting government hospitals were forced to buy platelets at higher prices from private blood banks.

State Joint Director (vector-borne disease control) M. Sulochana told The Hindu that the number of cases had come down drastically since August. Of the total 5,957 positive cases, including 1,047 from Bangalore, since January, nearly 2,000 (including 400 from Bangalore) were reported in July, she said.

During the same period in 2012, 3,175 positive cases, including 868 from Bangalore, had been reported. Asserting that the disease was under control this year compared to 2012, Dr. Sulochana said 21 deaths were reported last year. Four of these were from Bangalore, she said.

K. Sangamitra, Nodal Officer for National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), said the city had not recorded “any dengue death” since January. “We have got reports about two suspected dengue deaths from M.S. Ramaiah Hospital and Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health last week and our dengue audit team would soon confirm whether these deaths were because of dengue or not,” she said.

While unofficial numbers have not been collated, many more people have been infected by the dengue virus and doctors in both government and private hospitals confirmed this to The Hindu.

Health officials, who claimed that prevention and control measures had been initiated, have been insisting that only samples that test positive at the 21 sentinel laboratories identified under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme could be considered as positive.