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Times Of India
27 Nov 2012
Pune, India.
Toll Highest Since 2006; Pune Among Dists Recording Most Number Of Positive Cases

The state has reported a whopping 73 dengue deaths and 2,422 confirmed cases of dengue fever between January 1 and November 26 this year. State public health officials said this year’s toll is the highest since 2006 when 26 people had died.

With the rural areas of the state recording almost as many number of deaths as the urban centres, the indication is that dengue is no longer concentrated in urban areas alone, but has started spreading to state’s interiors as well.

A total of 38 people have died due to dengue fever in the municipal limits of cities, whereas the mosquito–borne infection has claimed 35 lives in rural parts of several districts.

"Among 2,422 dengue cases reported so far, Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Jalgaon and Kolhapur have recorded the highest number of cases. As for dengue casualties, Jalgaon district has reported the highest number of eight deaths so far, followed by Bhandara with six deaths. The municipal corporation areas of Pune city and Malegaon have reported six deaths each," Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer, state health department, told TOI on Monday.

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One death each was reported from the districts of Thane, Raigad, Ahmadnagar, Pune, Amaravati, Buldhana and Gondia. The rural parts of Nashik, Satara, Yavatmal and Nagpur districts have reported two dengue deaths each. Dhule and Kolhapur districts have reported three deaths each due to dengue fever.

As for the municipal limits of cities, Mumbai and Meera Bhayandar have reported three deaths each. The municipal corporations of Dhule and Pimpri Chinchwad have reported five deaths each. Bhiwandi, Ahmednagar, Nashik and Kolhapur have reported one death each. Kalyan municipal corporation has reported four deaths due to dengue and Nagpur municipal corporation has reported two deaths so far.

A state health official attributed the rise in dengue cases to rapid urbanisation and shortage of water leading to people storing water. Unplanned growth and construction activities are also reasons for dengue cases in urban as well as rural areas, including small towns that are also witnessing urbanisation.

Pune–based National Institute of Virology (NIV) has confirmed that three of the four serotypes of dengue viruses are presently co–circulating, with dengue (DENV) virus 2 being more predominant.

"Of the four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV), DENV–2 is predominant among the three viruses currently co–circulating," A C Mishra, director, National Institute of Virology (NIV), had said in an earlier interview to TOI. Mishra had also observed that dengue virus is moving more and more towards the rural areas and this is likely to increase the magnitude of the disease in near future.

"There has been no drastic change in the characteristic of dengue virus since 1990," Mishra had said.

Dengue is emerging as a major public health concern in India. Since the first epidemic in Kolkata during 1963–64, many places in India have been experiencing dengue infection. One of the largest outbreaks in North India occurred in Delhi and adjoining areas in 1996. The epidemic broke out mainly due to dengue virus 2. DENV–2 has remained a predominant strain since 1990.

The seasonality of transmission of dengue with increased activity has been observed in the post–monsoon season. Even in the post–epidemic period (2004 and 2005) increased dengue virus activity was seen in post monsoon period – September to November – with peak in the second and third week of October. Similar observation was made in 1997 following the 1996 epidemic.

"These findings indicate that during the epidemic and non–epidemic years, dengue infections are mostly seen in post–monsoon season. Hence, preventive measures should be followed at the very onset of monsoon," states the report by the National Vector–borne Disease Control Programme.

Climatic conditions favourable for dengue, water scarcity leading to increased storage of water, increasing construction activity, piling up of garbage, lack of public awareness about anti–mosquito measures and inadequate mosquito management have aggravated the situation.

"Since the mosquito, aedes aegypti, which spreads dengue, breeds in fresh water, it is imperative for every household to empty and clean all utensils and tanks at least once a week," said another health official.

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