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400 dengue cases and still counting, officials say nothing to worry about

Bindu Shajan Perappadan
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Delhi In bad shape:A waterlogged drain in Lal Bagh near Azadpur makes a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
Delhi In bad shape:A waterlogged drain in Lal Bagh near Azadpur makes a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Capital has already clocked nearly 400 dengue cases this season -- with 30 new cases being reported on Saturday alone -- and government agencies confirm that the dengue season is only halfway through. The day-biting Aedes mosquitoe has forced the civic bodies to work even on Sundays, and with an average of 20 new cases being reported every day this past week the mosquitoes clearly seem to be winning. For its part, the Delhi Government maintains that there has been only one dengue death this season.

Arguing that the Delhi Government figures are only an indicator of how large the problem is, Max Super Speciality Hospital internal medicine senior consultant Dr. Vikas Ahluwalia says: “For the past three weeks, private hospitals have been flooded with patients with symptoms of dengue. I personally see as many as ten confirmed dengue cases every day. The figures given out by the Delhi Government do not really reflect the actual number of cases, which is over twice the government records. The records section of any private hospital/ nursing home will give you a very different picture from what the Government is claiming.”

What is adding to the problem this season is the fact that besides dengue, the city has also registered several cases of malaria, six cases of chikungunya and a whole spectrum of viral infections.

Dr. Ahluwalia adds: “The season is definitely a difficult one and we are seeing many cases of viral fever, typhoid and double infection, all of which is adding to the chaos in the hospitals.”

Refuting charges of wide-scale spread of dengue, Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s senior health official Dr. N. K. Yadav says: “Dengue is a seasonal, sometimes fatal viral disease, which spreads by day-biting Aedes mosquito. The symptoms -- high fever, sever headache, muscle and joint pain, pain behind the eyes and rashes -- appear within 3-14 days of the bite. Treatment is symptomatic and pain killers and aspirin are not recommended.”

“The civic bodies are tackling the situation well and there are no problems. The city has seen a large number of dengue and malaria cases before too. We have intensified fogging and door-to-door inspection. Also, our employees have been asked to work on Sundays. But there is no case for concern or worry, the problem is very much under control,” he adds.

The maximum number of dengue cases have been reported from South and Central Delhi (both over 40 cases each this season) and patients from the neighbouring States too come for treatment to Delhi hospitals.

Stating that the Municipal Corporations of Delhi are to be blamed to a large extent for the situation that the Capital finds itself in, Delhi Health Minister Dr. A. K. Walia says: “There should have been adequate checking of mosquito breeding just after the rains.”

Speaking about discrepancy in the number of dengue cases reported by government and private hospitals, the Minister says: “Private hospitals are showing much larger figures compared to government hospitals. We have asked government hospitals to use testing kits which work faster to confirm dengue cases. Also, they have been told to have adequate number of beds and assured blood supply to take care of dengue patients. Our hospitals are well equipped and prepared. We are sure that the number of dengue cases will go down by early November when the winter sets in.”

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