New Delhi: There’s no stopping dengue. Breaking a two-decade record the deadly disease has tightened its grip on the Capital. After the first dengue outbreak was reported in Kolkata in 1963, Delhi had reported the highest number of dengue cases (10,252) in 1996. However, that mark has already been breached in October this year. The total number of cases in the city has gone up to 10,683. Experts believe the figure may go much higher till the end of November.
According to the municipal corporations of Delhi, more than 3,000 fresh cases have been reported in the last one week alone.
While the number of cases has gone up, the disease has claimed 41 lives so far. In 1996, over 420 had succumbed to dengue.
According to the official website of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), during 1996 a severe outbreak of dengue had occurred in Delhi wherein about 10,252 cases and 423 deaths were reported.
NVBDCP is the national-level technical nodal office equipped with technical experts in the field of public health, entomology, toxicology and parasitology aspects of mosquito-borne diseases.
“This year there has been a significant rise of deaths due to dengue, especially among the children. Dengue in children usually starts with symptoms of a viral illness such as fever, running nose, cough and a mild skin rash. Older children usually have typical symptoms like adults – high fever, pain behind the eyes and in joints, headache and a red and white patchy skin rash. Children with a history of wheezing and asthma are better served to protect themselves with necessary preventive inhalers,” Dr Rajesh Budhiraja, internal medicine, Asian Institute of Medical Science, told Mail Today.
Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain and a characteristic skin rash similar to measles.
Doctors say treatment is symptomatic with no specific cure, so if patients use pain medicines indiscriminately, there is a risk of them becoming resistant to them.
“Nowadays, parents are purchasing a lot of mosquito repellents like anti-dengue mosquito patches from the market thinking them to be effective. It’s too early to arrive at a conclusion on their effectiveness. These patches contain citronella oil, a natural mosquito repellent. We are recommending preventive ways like wearing full clothes. The dengue mosquito generally bites the lower part of the body and hence, we strongly recommend wearing socks and keeping the lower limbs covered,” Dr Navneet Kaur of Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Kailash Colony, told Mail Today.
Of all civic zones in the Capital, Najafgarh under the South MCD has recorded the highest number of cases – 808.
Till October 10, the number of houses found positive for mosquito breeding stood at 2,16,870 while the number of prosecution launched in the same period is 20,670.
The civic body says while it is putting in its best effort to curb the outbreak, it is the residents who have to take extra precautions.
Dengue is an epidemic: Doctors say its outbreak is far worse than what figures suggest
Following the outbreak in 1996, the reporting of dengue fever was made mandatory to ensure early preventive measures in case of outbreak. Out of 18 endemic states/UTs, the most affected states are Delhi, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana.
Most cases in South Delhi, mayor blames residents
The highest number of dengue cases has been recorded in posh South Delhi so far, and the South MCD has blamed it on the negligent attitude of the residents.
Subhash Arya, South MCD Mayor, told Mail Today: “The municipal corporation is doing its best to curb the spread of dengue… it is on the residents to ensure that they take necessary precautions to prevent the spread.”
MCD officials also claimed that the residents do not let breeding checkers inside their houses.
However, Rajeev Kakria, a resident of Greater Kailash-I, had a different angle to the story. “Witnessing the growing crime rate, it is natural for the residents to avoid any stranger enter their houses. The inspection requires entering private portions of the houses. The MCD should meet RWAs and make them familiar with the person responsible for checking the houses.
“In Greater Kailash-I, for the last three years, we have ensured that the same house inspector carries out the inspection,” Kakria added.
Another resident, RN Bhagi, the vicepresident of Green Park Extension welfare association, said residents in the area take extra care and do not let water stagnate. “It is the massive construction sites that breed mosquitoes that ultimately prove lethal for the residents.
There is no proper checking in these sites. Due to massive construction, water remains stagnant on these sites and they do not even let it dry as it would weaken the construction. This has made the residents living around these construction sites vulnerable to the spread of dengue and malaria,” Bhagi said.
Rajat Seth from Lajpat Nagar pointed out that earlier, the efforts of the government and the civic agencies to sensitise residents on prevention of dengue and malaria were visible, but over the years the visibility has reduced. “There is no sight of regular fumigation in the locality,” he said.
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