‘Rising dengue, malaria cases will take a toll on healthcare system’

A worker fumigating a house in the city.  

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors in the city have warned that a rising number of dengue and malaria cases will turn out to be the most difficult diseases to treat. As a result, they say, there will be increased pressure on the healthcare ecosystem.

Hospitals in the city have been reporting a steady rise in dengue and malaria cases. “Apart from that, we are getting cases of chikungunya and leptospirosis. These diseases are caused by mosquito bites and contaminated water. Even cases of jaundice and hepatitis rise during monsoon. Both of them can be as dangerous as malaria, dengue or chikungunya,” said Shuchin Bajaj, director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals.

He added, “The management of such diseases needs holistic views, especially if the patient is COVID-19 positive.”

He said dengue, also known as breakbone fever, is a severe flu-like illness that affects all age groups. In most people, the fever takes its own course to subside.

“However, in some patients, it can cause serious complications like hemorrhagic fever, which can damage the lymph and blood vessels and can cause high fever, bleeding from nose and gums, liver enlargement and circulatory system failure. It is important to stay under medical supervision during the course of the disease. If the platelet count dips too much, it may also increase the chances of internal bleeding, and platelet transmission becomes important,” he explained.

According to an estimate by the World Health Organisation, nearly a third of the world’s population lives in areas where dengue is endemic. This means around 2.5 billion people are constantly in danger of acquiring the infection. Around 50 million of them contract the infection and about 25,000 people die from the infection every year.

India has seen a steady rise in dengue infections from 2001, with Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Chandigarh accounting for the majority of cases. With more urbanisation, Mizoram, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh have also reported dengue infections, where the disease was previously non-existent.

Varying symptoms

“Clinically, symptoms of dengue vary from mild flu-like illness with headache, fever with rash, respiratory symptoms, to bleeding, and multi-organ failure,” said Ruta Patwardhan, consultant microbiologist, Metropolis Healthcare.

Dr. Patwardhan added that there is no specific drug or vaccine available against dengue in India at present and it is highly advisable for people to start taking preventive measures. Doctors have advised that people should not allow water to stagnate and wear full sleeve clothes while stepping out of the house.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 3:26:59 PM |

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