Chikungunya and dengue are taking the toll on Delhi and a few other cities across the country, with at least ten deaths due to the vector-borne disease reported in the last two days. While the number of chikungunya cases has risen to over 1,000, dengue cases have shot up to 1,158 in the national capital with nearly 390 of them being recorded in the first ten days of September.
Chikungunya 'outbreak' in the national capital
According to National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), around 12,255 cases of chikungunya have been reported across the country till 31 August. Karnataka alone has recorded 8,941 cases, Maharashtra 839 and Andhra Pradesh 492.
Meanwhile, a senior health ministry official said at this moment, there is an "outbreak" situation with regard to chikungunya.
BS Rana, chairman, board of management of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said the victims were elderly. "Uday Shanker (61) of Dwarka was admitted on 11 September and he died on 12 September. His RT-PCR test for chikungunya had come positive. He had come to our OPD and then admitted.
"Ashok Chauhan, 62, from Aligarh also died of chikungunya. He too was admitted in ICU on 11 September and his RT-PCR test came positive," hospital authorities said.
Doctors say chikungunya is not a life-threatening disease in general, but in rare cases leads to complications that prove fatal, especially in children and old persons. Incidentally, Isha of Kabir Nagar, died at Hindu Rao Hospital, one of the biggest municipal hospitals in Delhi, due to "complications triggered by chikungunya."
"She was admitted on 26 August at the hospital. Her chikungunya test had come positive. She died due to cardiac arrest triggered by complications from chikungunya," a senior doctor at the Hindu Rao Hospital said.
Incidentally, one suspected chikungunya death has also been reported at the Aiims, but hospital authorities are yet to confirm it. According to reports, the "chikungunya death" at the Aiims took place sometime in September.
At Aiims laboratories, 1,360 chikungunya blood test samples have tested positive till 11 September. Authorities at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, "One more person suffering from chikungunya is in the ICU."
At present, there are 29 chikungunya patients admitted at the hospital, of which 20 were admitted in the last 10 days, they said. "At present four dengue patients are also admitted, two of them in the last 10 days. One of the patients is in ICU," a senior hospital official said.
In last 10 days, the hospital has tested 524 samples each for dengue and chikungunya, out of which five and 293 respectively have come positive in RT-PCR test, he said. Out of the 1,057 total cases of chikungunya this season in Delhi, 497 were reported in the last week, amounting to a rise of nearly 90 percent from its count by the civic body on 3 September.
Out of the total cases this season till 10 September, 202 has been recorded in south Delhi, followed by 148 in north Delhi and 57 in east Delhi, the report said. For SDMC, which reported the highest number of people diagnosed with chikungunya, its four-zone recorded cases as follows--West (56), Central (57), South (56) and Najafgarh (33).
As many as 540 cases of chikungunya have been recorded from areas outside the jurisdiction of the three municipal corporations in Delhi and 110 cases have been reported from outside of Delhi, the report said.
According to SDMC, 64 cases of chikungunya were reported last year. IMA President-Elect Dr K K Aggarwal cautioned about chikungunya virus (CHIKV) that can cause CHIKV-associated encephalitis.
"Children younger than 1 year and adults aged 65 years or older have the highest incidence of CHIKV-associated encephalitis," he said, while claiming such cases are occurring in Delhi.
The sudden spike in chikungunya cases in Delhi and several other parts of north India has come nearly 10 years after a big outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease across the country.
In 2006, over 13 lakh suspected chikungunya fever cases were reported across the country, according to NVBDCP.
Civic bodies have also issued challans to a number of establishments like MTNL office, Hindu Rao Hospital, and Delhi Jal Board, mosquito larvae were found breeding on their premises.
Dengue on the rise, cases mount to 1,158
Nine "suspected" dengue deaths have reportedly taken place at Aiims this month, even as the number of the cases of the vector-borne disease in Delhi has climbed to over 1,150.
At least nine deaths due to dengue have been reported this year in the national capital, though the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) which compiles the report on vector-borne diseases on behalf of all civic bodies in New Delhi, has put the death toll at four.
The premier hospital is getting several dengue patients on a daily basis in its fever clinics.
As many as 387 cases were reported this month, marking a rise of over 50 percent from the previous count, according to a municipal report released on Wednesday.
Over 770 cases were reported till 3 September this season. Out of the total number of cases, August alone has accounted for 652.
The last dengue fatality reported was of Iram Khan (25), a native of Meerut, who lived in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi, and succumbed to dengue on 31 August at Apollo Hospital.
The other three deaths reported by SDMC include Nazish (38), sister-in-law of Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, who had died of dengue shock syndrome at Apollo Hospital on 12 August.
Muskan (12), a resident of Shaheen Bagh here, had died on 29 July, while Deepak (19), from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, succumbed to the disease on 27 July, both at Safdarjung Hospital.
Besides, five other fatalities have been reported by different hospitals in the city, which have not been acknowledged yet by the SDMC.
Two-and-a-half-year-old girl, Usra, had succumbed to dengue at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on September 1, while Noma (3) died at Apollo Hospital on 28 August.
Asad Iqbal (18), a native of Bihar, had succumbed to the deadly disease on 28 August at Apollo Hospital.
Safdarjung Hospital had recently reported another dengue death that took place late July. This year, dengue cases have been reported rather early.
The vector-borne disease had claimed its first victim on 21 July when a girl from Jafrabad in northeast Delhi died at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital.
SDMC Medical Health Officer P K Hazarika said, "September-October is the peak season for dengue and the cases are likely to rise faster now. People must take all precautions and prevent breeding of mosquitoes in and outside of their homes."
Last year, the city saw a staggering 15,867 dengue cases — the worst in 20 years — with the disease claiming 60 lives, as per municipal reports.
In 2015, August and September had seen 778 and 6,775 cases respectively while October had recorded a staggering 7,283 cases. Only six cases were reported in June, while 36 were registered in July.
In 1996, a severe outbreak of dengue had occurred in Delhi when about 10,252 cases and 423 deaths were reported.
According to the report, south Delhi has reported 255 dengue cases till 10 September, the highest among all the regions in the city.
This year cases have been reported early. A total of 91 cases were reported in July, six cases were recorded in May, while June witnessed 15 cases.
As many as 374 cases have been reported from areas falling outside the jurisdiction of the municipal corporation in the city.
While 89 cases were reported from Uttar Pradesh, 31 of those diagnosed with the disease came from Haryana and 234 from other states.
In NDMC area, breeding of mosquitoes was found in 43,565 houses, in SDMC area in 62,423 houses and 15,536 in EDMC area.
The number of prosecution launched in these areas were 3,612, 5,460 and 1,436 respectively.
375 positive dengue cases in Chandigarh
About 375 positive cases of dengue have been reported in health centres located in Chandigarh.
Out of these, 98 patients belong to the union territory.
One case of chikungunya has also been detected at Chandigarh. No death due to dengue has been reported till now.
The Malaria Wing of Health Department of Chandigarh Administration has beefed up field activities for Prevention and Control of Dengue.
Lt Jung 'paralysing' city's health system: Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain on Tuesday, while briefing the media, accused Lt Governor Najeeb Jung of "paralysing" the city's health system to deal with vector-borne diseases even as the Kejriwal government ordered a probe into the chikungunya deaths.
"We had made all the preparations to deal with any outbreak situation four-five months ago, but the Delhi government-appointed Health Secretary was suddenly transferred by the LG.
"And, the new Health Secretary appointed by Jung has been given a 15-day leave at a time when dengue and chikungunya are on the rise. Our health system has been paralysed," Jain said.
Slamming all three the BJP-led municipal corporations, the Delhi Health Minister said that civic bodies are responsible for fogging in Delhi to keep mosquitoes away and they have "failed" in their duty.
The Minister also blamed media for creating panic among the people about chikungunya and dengue, saying it is "media creation".
"Media has been given the contract (supari) to create panic. Medically, there is no death due to Chikungunya, but media is showing death due to this disease. I want to make it clear that Chikungunya is not fatal. There are 200 deaths in Delhi every day, but nobody asks about it," Jain said.
"There is no dearth of beds in government hospitals. There are a total of 40,000 beds in hospitals situated in Delhi and out of this, only 40 per cent of beds are with Delhi government.
"Our hospitals are not refusing to admit patients, but other Centre-run hospitals including AIIMS are not admitting them," he said.
According to the government, there are 262 fever clinics, 106 mohalla clinics and 26 Delhi government hospitals. Treatment and diagnosis of dengue and chikungunya are available free of cost in all Delhi government Health institutions.
With inputs from PTI