Dengue, chikungunya 'plague' Delhi image; polio, HIV cases low | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Dengue, chikungunya 'plague' Delhi image; polio, HIV cases low

Dengue and Chikungunya raised their ugly heads before the Commonwealth Games in the national capital triggering anxiety among participating countries who gave sleepless nights to the organisers by threatening to pull out.

delhi Updated: Dec 26, 2010 11:09 IST

Dengue and Chikungunya raised their ugly heads before the Commonwealth Games in the national capital triggering anxiety among participating countries who gave sleepless nights to the organisers by threatening to pull out.

A new superbug created scare when the New Delhi metallo-lactamase (NDM-1) that enables bacteria to be highly resistant to almost all antibiotics was found in British patients who travelled to India for elective surgery.

India was quick to question the naming of the bug after New Delhi. The Health Ministry responded to the issue with a tone of agitation and accused British scholars as scaremongers. A Chennai-based scientist, who was part of the research, claimed certain portions of his study were analysed differently.

With the city government unable to contain vector-borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya and malaria, leading to a spurt in the number of casualties, Delhi virtually turned into the country's the disease capital.

As the pull-out chorus gained momentum, the government launched massive cleaning up operations in the capital. It, however, stuck to its contention that the increased cases of dengue were due to wide-scale construction activities ahead of the Games and blamed participating nations for overreacting as dengue was prevalent in many East Asian countries as well.

The Centre decided to prepare an action plan within the next three-four months to tackle these diseases. Under the plan, the ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Science and Technology will work together to develop vaccines for these commonly-communicable diseases.

The country has so far reported over 15,535 cases of dengue, of which 96 were fatal. Chikungunya was mostly reported in the national capital, with over 30 cases.

The fight against swine flu, another disease which reached pandemic proportions in 2009, got a boost this year with an indigenous vaccine for the disease.

However, new and tough pictorial warnings for tobacco products continued. Giving in to the demand of the tobacco industry, the government decided to retain existing pictorial warnings on cigarette and bidi packets for another year.

The decision taken at a meeting of the Cabinet came a week after tobacco majors like ITC and Godfrey Phillips India stopped production due to uncertainty.

The existing pictorial warnings -- a scorpion on bidi packs and a cancer-affected lung on cigarette packs -- were to be replaced by a cancer-affected mouth, from December one after a notification by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in May.

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