Rising mercury sees spike in viral fever, dengue cases

A man ferries drinking water bottles on a hot Tuesday afternoon in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The mercury has already crossed 34 degrees Celsius, which is five degree above average for this time of the year, in the first two weeks of March in Delhi. This steady rise in temperatures has triggered a spike in cases of viral fever and other infections.

“Sudden escalation in temperatures has caught most city dwellers by surprise. The approximately 20 degrees’ difference between night-time and daytime temperatures is significant and is affecting people’s health. This is the ideal time for microorganisms to breed, and a host of viral and bacterial diseases are affecting people,” said Ashish Khattar, Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka.

Dr. Khattar added that mosquitoes have made a re-entry into our daily lives.

“Their activity decreases during peak summer months of May and June, but people are at greater risk of vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya during warmer temperatures in March. In recent years, we have seen national-level outbreaks of these diseases and we should be ready to prevent a repeat of the past few years,” he said.

Increased day temperature

Hospitals across the city have registered a rise in the number of cases of viral fever, flu and other infections.

“Children are the most vulnerable and affected during this period,” said Anil Bansal of the Delhi Medical Association.

Dr. Bansal added that hospitals have registered a 30% hike in the number of patients suffering from viral fever and upper respiratory infection. Another problem that people face with approaching summers is not keeping hydrated enough.

“People tend to form a habit of drinking less water during winters, which continues in the initial summer months. It is important to keep the body hydrated by increasing fluid intake, including juice, traditional lemonades, and water,” he added.

Meanwhile, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation reported till early March 15 cases of dengue, five more than last year when the mosquito-borne disease infected 9,271 people and killed 10.

Municipal Health officer B. K. Hazarika said: “The spike in day temperatures, already 1 degree to 1.5 degree above normal, is a breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes — Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti and the Aedes albopictus — which spread dengue and chikungunya.”

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 3:57:57 PM |

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