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Times of India
28 August 2010

Delhi is facing a dengue outbreak. With 674 cases reported, this year may be worse than 2006 when disease had caused a scare
Dengue Cases Spiral
Thirty six days before the Commonwealth Games, city is facing a dengue outbreak. Though dengue cases are reported every year in this season, experts fear this year the capital is likely to face an ‘‘outbreak’’ that could be even bigger than the one in 2006.

With 65 new cases reported on Friday, the dengue tally has risen to 674. The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), which is responsible for monitoring and prevention of vector borne diseases in the country, admits the dengue cases are under–reported in Delhi.

Dengue Cases Spiral
In 2006, when dengue outbreak was declared in the city, just 19 cases were reported from Delhi till August 27. The figures are likely to increase sharply once the Central government approves NS–1 antigen as a confirmatory test for the disease.

‘‘There is a dengue outbreak in the city. Dengue cases are under–reported as they include the cases which tested positive using the NS–1 antigen test. There are areas like Jamia Nagar which are in the middle of an outbreak,’’ said Dr AC Dhariwal, director, NVBDCP.

Dengue Cases Spiral
Experts say this year the dengue outbreak can gain epidemic proportions. ‘‘The dengue season has just started and we have got 674 cases. There is a possibility of 2010 witnessing a larger outbreak as compared to 2006. September is the month when dengue peaks so we should expect a dramatic increase in dengue cases in the days to come,’’ said Dr Bir Singh, professor of community medicine and in–charge of the diseases prevention outbreak response cell at AIIMS.

City doctors say the MCD is playing down the dengue figures due to the Games. ‘‘Private hospitals are reporting high dengue figures. This needs to be investigated. It is possible a large number of cases are those of viral fever, but reporting by private hospitals must be taken seriously,’’ said a doctor.

Good monsoon, massive construction and cyclic nature of the disease are the main reasons for the increase in dengue cases. The state health department also blames MCD for it. ‘‘MCD woke up very late.

A SMOKESCREEN: Civic agencies fumigating city’s streets A SMOKESCREEN: Civic agencies fumigating city’s streets
Their breeding checkers were given additional responsibility of checking property tax. Now we are making serious efforts to create public awareness about the disease. Our hospitals are ready to handle dengue cases. We admit there is a dengue outbreak in the city, but the situation is not so serious that it can be termed epidemic,’’ said Kiran Walia, Delhi’s health minister.

MCD officials said till August 14, they had served 45,532 notices and prosecuted 6125 people for mosquito breeding. ‘‘We are taking stringent measures to curb breeding. But rain is a problem,’’ said Dr N K Yadav, MHO at MCD.

With little time left for Commonwealth games, experts suggest that dengue awareness drive should be designed on the lines of Pulse Polio. ‘‘We need to have a dedicated day for dengue awareness. Antilarval medicine should be distributed in public and people should be educated about the disease,’’ said Dr Singh.

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