Deadly dengue outbreak looms large over Capital

With nearly 400 official dengue cases reported so far and 30 on Saturday alone, the threat of a dengue outbreak in Delhi looms large.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation has so far reported the highest number of around 150 cases, with the North and East Corporations trailing not far behind, reporting approximately 140 and 70 cases respectively.

While the estimated number of dengue cases being reported in Delhi is around 30 per day, doctors in most major city hospitals say they are getting at least 20 cases every day.

“The situation is not good at all. We are getting at least 20 to 30 dengue cases every day,” said Atul Gogia of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. “Most of our beds are filled with dengue patients,” says Vivek Nangia of Fortis Hospital. “Lots of patients are coming with dengue symptoms every day.”

However, doctors did not give the exact number of cases coming to hospitals as the municipal corporations have asked them not to provide figures to the media.

Director of National Vector Born Disease Control programme A C Dhariwal said private hospitals are reporting high number of cases because they are taking a “rapid diagnostic test”, which is not reliable. “We treat those cases as suspect and do not register them. The official figures include only ELISA test-based results,” he said.

An ELISA test uses components of the immune system and chemicals to detect immune responses in the body to infectious microbes.

The ELISA test involves an enzyme and also involves an antibody or antigen, and is more accurate.

On preventive steps, Gogia said avoiding mosquito bites is the first step. “Avoiding Aedes Aegypti mosquito bites during the day, spraying insecticide in morning, using mosquito repellent cream and other things should be done,” he says.

Nangia said that in case of fever, a lot of fluid should be taken and only paracetamol should be taken to control fever.

“If one gets fever, take a lot of fluid and paracetamol, but don’t use anti-biotics,” he said. “The platelets start dropping only after fever comes down.

That is when the patient needs to be in hospital. Also, there is no point in getting a blood test done initially as the situation of platelets is known only after the first two days or so,” he added.

As per official figures, only one dengue death has been reported this season — a nine-year-old girl who died at the All India Institute of Medical Science last month.

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