Dengue cases have reached alarming proportions in states like West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana even though a few more weeks are left before the incidence of the disease typically falls.
West Bengal is among the worst affected states —24 deaths have been reported so far this year against 14 in 2015. As many as 5,600 cases have been reported as yet against 8,156 last year. Officials say this figure is bound to increase as at least six more weeks of “dengue season” remain.
Doctors blame “civic failure” for the alarmingly high number of deaths in the current year. “Casualties have been higher in areas where stagnant water is an issue. In fact, the disease started spreading from the northern suburbs, where dengue deaths have always been high,” Debashish Saha, a consultant at AMRI Hospital said.
Stagnant water, particularly at construction sites, is among the main reasons why the disease has seen a three-fold jump in UP. As many as 2,173 cases have been reported till September 12 this year against just 731 in the corresponding period last year. Three people have died so 9 last year far against 9 last year.
In south India, Hyderabad is among the worst affected cities. Seven deaths have been reported till August this year against just two in 2015. There have been 135 reported cases in the city till August this year compared to just 78 in the corresponding period in 2015. This spike is despite under-reporting of cases, say officials. “Though all state-run hospitals falling under Hyderabad district limits regularly notify dengue cases to authorities, those falling under Ranga Reddy district do not do so,” a health department official said on condition of anonymity.
In Kerala, where on an average 4,000 cases are reported every year, the toll has been contained, despite the incidence rising considerably, thanks to early detection of the disease by state authorities. Though 5,286 cases were reported till August this year against 4,114 in 2015, the toll this year is just 9 against 29 last year. “The main reason is management of the disease. If lack of blood banks and getting platelets were difficult tasks earlier, we now have blood transfusion facilities right from taluk-level hospitals,” said Dr Amar Fettle, state disease surveillance officer.
The incidence of dengue is far less in Rajasthan this year, but it has been unable to check deaths. Against 4,043 people testing positive for the disease last year, only 344 cases have been reported till September 9 this year. However, the toll so far is 6 against 7 last year.