Despite drop in temperature, Delhi sees spike in dengue cases

There has been a sharp spike in cases with nearly 5,000 reported until 21 October, more than twice the number for the same period last year

File photo of Municipal Corporation of Delhi workers fumigating a slum cluster as a precaution against the spread of dengue (photo: Getty Images)
File photo of Municipal Corporation of Delhi workers fumigating a slum cluster as a precaution against the spread of dengue (photo: Getty Images)

NH Digital

Despite a drop in temperature in the national capital, a stream of dengue patients has continued to flow into hospitals across Delhi. In fact, there has been a sharp spike in numbers, with nearly 5,000 cases (4,965 to be precise) reported up to 21 October. This is more than double the number for the same period in 2022, and the highest in the last five years, according to Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) data.

Several patients have been admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Lok Nayak Hospital in central Delhi, with at least 10-15 being admitted to both hospitals every day. According to news reports, the spike was the highest in September with 2,141 cases. While 1,487 cases have been reported so far in October, August saw 1,094. One dengue death has been reported so far, as per official data.

Doctors, however, hope the numbers will decrease as Delhi gets colder.

While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led state government did not react to reports, MCD confirmed the figures this week. Until last year, the MCD would release the report on vector-borne diseases every week. At a New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) meeting on Wednesday, BJP member Kuljeet Chahal alleged that the AAP-led MCD was hiding data about dengue cases in the city. MCD had officially shared its last dengue report on 26 September, in which it said the city had 3,013 dengue cases.

Writing on X, Delhi lieutenant-governor Vinay Kumar Saxena said the rising cases of dengue and related hospitalisation in Delhi, despite a dip in temperature, was worrisome, and said he had had a discussion with the chief secretary, NDMC chairman, MCD commissioner, and secretary (health) to ensure proper sanitation and steps to prevent mosquito breeding on a war footing. He also asked them to ensure adequate facilities at dispensaries and hospitals.

The highest number of dengue cases is usually reported in two months — October and November. A sudden dip is usually seen in December. In 2021, when the city saw 9,613 dengue cases and 23 deaths, more than 6,000 were reported in November alone.

Last week, the city reported a total of 525 cases, of which 76 remained untraced after investigation. The highest number of cases (57) were reported from the south district this week. In 2022, there were 4,469 reported dengue cases with nine deaths, while 2020 saw 1,072 cases with one death.

A senior MCD official on condition of anonymity said the rise in dengue cases is due to increased rainfall in the city this year, the highest in 60 years. In addition, residents were not taking adequate steps to stop mosquito breeding in their homes.

Last week, with dengue cases rising across the country, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a high-level meeting to examine the dengue situation, urging states to follow protocol to prevent and contain the spread of the disease.

A high number of cases have been reported in West Bengal and Maharashtra. According to latest available data, around 57,000 dengue cases were reported in West Bengal until the first week of October, with North 24 Parganas district the worst affected (11,244 cases), followed by capital Kolkata (6,070 cases). Until mid-September, Maharashtra reported 8,496 cases.

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