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Dengue deaths under-reported in Delhi

New Delhi: The dengue report released by three municipal corporations of Delhi on Monday said there have been five deaths due to the mosquito-borne disease in the capital so far.

But inquiries from some major government hospitals revealed that there were, in fact, far more deaths than are being reported by the civic bodies.

IANS spoke to five major hospitals of the city and found that at least 10-11 more patients died of dengue from August onwards.

Besides the five deaths reported by the civic bodies, two deaths were earlier confirmed by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), another by Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, two by Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital and two by Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital.

A few suspected dengue deaths have also been reported at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital.

Two more dengue deaths have been reported at the LNJP Hospital. But according to the hospital authorities, they also had co-morbid conditions (patients with other health issues like diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems that got aggravated by dengue).

“Two patients died at Lok Nayak who had dengue but they also had co-morbid conditions,” said Yogesh Kumar Sarin, LNJP Hospital medical superintendent.

Asked if these two deaths were not categorised as dengue deaths, he said: “Government doesn’t believe so.”

The data released by the three civic corporations — North Delhi Municipal Corporation (North DMC), South DMC and East DMC — on Monday said that till September 12, the number of deaths due to dengue have been five and total dengue cases have gone up to 1,872.

According to the medical superintendent of Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Hospital, two deaths took place on September 9 and 12. “The two deaths were of an 18-year-old male and a 43-year-old male,” said Amita Saxena, LBS Hospital medical superintendent.

The civic body, however, has officially recorded only five deaths so far — one each at RML Hospital, Balaji Hospital, Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, Fortis Hospital (Vasant Kunj) and Batra Hospital.

“Even we have got many suspected death cases due to dengue. But we cannot declare these deaths as dengue deaths unless these are confirmed by the corporation’s health department through Elisa test,” said Y S Mann, North DMC spokesperson.

The central government on Saturday ordered a probe while the Delhi government issued notice to five private hospitals in the national capital after a seven-year-old boy, Avinash Rout, died of dengue as he was allegedly denied admission and his shocked parents committed suicide.

The five hospitals that turned him away were Moolchand Hospital, Aakash Hospital, Saket City Hospital, Max Hospital (Saket) and Irene Hospital (Kalkaji).

Ashutosh Biswas, professor of medicine at AIIMS, said it was too early to predict if there would be an outbreak, but it was believed that Type 2 and 4 dengue strains were more virulent and aggressive.

“To prevent dengue, one should not allow mosquito breeding at home and one who is infected should stay at home and not move around. A research is going on to ascertain what is the actual serotype of the disease. We don’t know whether there is going to be an epidemic but surely there is an upsurge in the number of cases,” Biswas said.

“The numbers have certainly increased and also the panic among people has increased. Our hospital doesn’t have a special ward for dengue, but we have enough beds for the patients who need to be admitted,” said Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant, internal medicine, Apollo Hospital.

“In our treatment procedure, we give the patients diagnosed with dengue multi-vitamins, intravenous fluids, and platelets if the patients have less than 10,000 count,” he added.

He said people experiencing a high-grade fever, nausea, headache, body pains, chills should immediately visit a doctor, as these are the main symptoms of dengue. “The only way to prevent the disease is to prevent a mosquito bite. One must ensure there is no stagnant water anywhere, where mosquitoes could breed,” he added.

by Sidhartha Dutta / IANS (With inputs from Bhavana Akella)

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