Ratna Dhar, her son Sourobrata, 14, and daughter Souromi, 11, were stunned when they all tested positive for dengue on Monday.
“We thought there was no dengue in Delhi this year, we found out how wrong we were the hard way,” says Subrata Dhar, who is the only person not affected by the disease in his family.
“What are the chances? First our kids fell ill, then Ratna. I’d never heard of three people in the same family getting struck by dengue together,” says the resident of G-Block, Chittaranjan Park.
Dengue cases have been steadily increasing in the Capital over the past four days, with South Delhi being the worst hit.
“All three had fever and were NS1-positive for dengue, but did not need transfusion as there was no active bleeding,” says Dr KK Aggarwal, cardiologist and physician at Moolchand Hospital, who advised they get tested when he saw all three severely dehydrated.
Official data from the three municipal corporations is reflecting the trend, with 20 cases in the week ending September 20, taking the numbers from 55 till September 13 to 75 till September 20. South Delhi has reported 34 cases, East and North Delhi nine each, 12 are from areas outside their municipal jurisdictions, and 11 are from the NCR.
The real count is always higher. “Dengue is usually diagnosed using dengue NS1 antigen test or the dengue-specific IgM & IgG tests, which cost around `2,000 and detect all four strains of the virus. The MCDs insist on the more expensive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) results which come after three to four days,” says Dr Aggarwal.
As many as 17 people have been admitted to Apollo Hospitals since January, of whom five were children. “This is a fraction of the cases treated each year. This year, the infection is mild and platelet transfusions have been rare, but the number of patients in the OPD with fever are going up now,” says Anupam Sibal, group director of medical service, Apollo Hospitals.
“Dengue peaks in Delhi-NCR in September and October, so this is the time to use protection against mosquitoes and use repellent creams and patches,” says Dr Sibal.
Delhi had 5,574 dengue cases in 2013, shows official municipal data.
Dhar suspects the construction site behind his home is the breeding ground for Aedes aegypti mosquito — the common carrier of both chikungunya and dengue virus. “We’re careful, but since it’s a day-biting mosquito and my wife and children are home during the day, I suspect they got infected at home.” says Dhar, who deals in imported journals.
India reported 5,218 dengue cases till July 31, shows data from the Centre’s National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme. Of 18 dengue-endemic states/UTs in India, the worst affected till the end of July were Kerala and Maharashtra, with 1,181 and 1,150 cases respectively. Delhi had reported 16 cases in the same period.