Rejecting Congress demand to declare dengue as an epidemic in the state, Orissa government today claimed the deadly mosquito-borne disease had been detected in 465 districts spread over 20 States in the country.

This was stated by Orissa’s Health and Family Welfare minister Prasanna Acharya while replying to an adjournment motion debate in the assembly.

“Nowhere in the country, dengue has been declared as epidemic. Though 17 persons have so far died in Orissa, the situation is not like epidemic,” Mr. Acharya said.

While 2565 persons in Gujarat were afflicted by the disease in 2010, 2285 people suffered from it in Karnataka.

Similarly, 6259 dengue cases were detected in Delhi in that year, he claimed citing figures available here.

Stating that 402 people have so far tested positive of dengue virus in Orissa, he said most of the incidents were reported from industrial and coal areas in Angul district.

The authorities of Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL) had been asked to ensure removal of abandoned motor tyres, fill up pitches, empty bottles and others considered as the breeding source of dengue virus, he said.

Of the 17 dengue deaths so far reported, 13 came from Angul district, the minister said appealing to the opposition parties not to create a panic over the situation.

“The government considers that declaration of dengue as an epidemic will panic the public,” the minister reiterated.

Earlier, participating in the debate, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh and Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan asked the government to declare dengue as an epidemic to assist the affected people who hailed from poor families.

“The state government had failed in checking the dengue menace. The people face difficulties to get their blood sample tested due to lack of adequate facilities,” Mr. Harichandan said while Mr. Singh demanded free transportation and free medicines for the patients.