The death toll due to chikungunya-triggered complications stood at 12 on Thursday, with two new cases reported from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), prompting Union Health Minister JP Nadda to seek a report from the Delhi Government on the rising deaths and number of patients.
Delhi's Water Minister Kapil Mishra also appealed to all legislators and councillors to keep aside political differences and fight the vector-borne menace together. Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung also urged the people to rise above considerations of politics and fight chikungunya and dengue unitedly.
On Wednesday, city-based Indraprastha Apollo Hospital confirmed the deaths of five patients in the last three weeks. The latest were of two men — aged 50 and 30 — who were suffering from kidney ailments, that got aggravated due to the virus. The two died on Tuesday.
Union Health Minister JP Nadda said there was no dearth of medicines and testing kits in the hospitals.
He said that 11 advisories have been issued to all states and they have been requested to declare dengue as a notifiable disease, for improving reporting and for taking preventive measures in affected areas.
On Thursday, Delhi's Health Minister, Satyendra Jain, told people that they need not panic because chikungunya cannot cause death.
"People of Delhi have no need to panic. The state government is ready to provide help at all cost. But one should get admitted only if the doctor advises them to do so and not because they are scared," he said.
That's why Delhiites need not panic, he remarked to mediapersons. All people need to do is to take precautions and go to the hospital, but that too, only if they experience symptoms of the vector-borne disease, Jain said.
Several awareness programmes through print and electronic media and issuing of advertisements for controlling the diseases have been initiated by the government.
Gearing up to tackle the rising cases of chikungunya and dengue, Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra along with BJP parliamentarian from North East Delhi Manoj Tiwari conducted fogging in Sonia Vihar area of Karawal Nagar.
Earlier on Wednesday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain held a review meeting with the officials of all the civic bodies and health departments, saying, "We are not satisfied with the fogging supposed to have been done by the North, South and East municipal corporations. There was a need to carry out fogging in the whole of Delhi."
Stating that there was no need to panic, Jain stated that the Delhi government hospitals are fully capable of providing proper treatment to the patients.
The Lt Governor also urged all stakeholders to make all-out efforts to check dengue and chikungunya cases.
"I appeal to all to rise above political considerations and fight the menace unitedly. Historically, in emergencies, people have come together and fought. That is what is required now," he said.
The Delhi Government asserted in the High Court that fewer number of dengue and chikungunya cases were reported in the national capital this year compared to last year.
According to hospitals, the patients were also suffering from diabetes and kidney ailments.
Municipal Corporation data said the number of dengue, chikungunya and malaria infections stands at 1,158, 1,057 and 21 respectively.
According to the civic bodies, the highest dengue cases were reported in 2015 with a total of 15,876 people infected by the vector-borne disease with 60 deaths.
Health experts have said there are more chances for the elderly to succumb to chikungunya due to their low immunity levels.
Terming the process as trigger mechanism, experts — treating chikungunya, dengue and malaria patients, also categorically stated that no one dies of chikungunya, but if a person has a history of a chronic disease then it may get aggravated or reactivated by the chikungunya virus, leading to death.
"It's all about the immunity level. Though chikungunya cannot kill someone it can trigger the problems of an old chronic disease. In case an elderly patient suffering from kidney or cardiac disease gets chikungunya, then there are chances of the kidney and the cardiac disease to become severe, leading to death, as immunity level is very low then," Sumit Ray, who heads the critical care unit at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told IANS.
With dengue claiming seven more lives here in Uttar Pradesh capital in the last 24 hours, the toll in the city stands at 68 on Thursday. The government claimed things were "under control" although there was panic among patients.
At least 63 new patients were admitted on Wednesday and 216 tested positive for dengue in the Elisa test — confirmatory pathological test for dengue, an official of the health department told IANS.
More than 1,000 cases were reported from various parts of the city.
The latest deaths included that of Deputy Director of the Social Welfare Department M.P. Singh, who passed away at the Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences on Wednesday.
The state health department claimed that the situation was "by and large under control" although people alleged that even basic preventive measures — fogging and spray of anti-larva pesticide — was not carried out.
The designated malaria wing of the health directorate is reportedly ill-equipped and short of manpower to take on the spread of vector borne diseases, said insiders.
There was only one person for every five lakh population, who sprayed pesticides on a bicycle.
West Bengal has reported the highest number of dengue deaths in the country so far this year with the figure till August end standing at 22, Union Health Ministry has said on its website. Dengue deaths in West Bengal this year is up from 14 in 2015 when Delhi had earned the distinction of recording the highest number of deaths due to the disease at 60.
A list on the website of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme under the Directorate General of Health
Services of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed that 5,129 dengue cases were reported in West Bengal
till 31 August.
According to the last figure given by state Director of Health Services Biswaranjan Satpathy, West Bengal has 23 dengue-related deaths with 5,639 people affected by it from January to 31 August.
Several calls to state Health Minister Sashi Panja, health secretary and DHS over this figure went unanswered. West Bengal is followed by Odisha and Kerala, both recording nine deaths each. Karnataka so far has registered six deaths due to dengue, while two people died in Delhi till 31 August, the website said.
There have been 60 dengue deaths with 27,879 dengue cases reported from different states and union territories in the country so far this year. There were 220 dengue deaths and 99,913 cases of the vector-borne disease last year, it added.
With inputs from agencies