With 1,057 cases of chikungunya reported so far, Delhi is in the grip of its worst viral disease outbreak ever.
South Delhi continues to be the worst-hit with 202 cases reported till September 10, followed by north and east Delhi with 148 and 57 cases respectively.
At 20, Dwarka has recorded the highest number of chikungunya cases in the city.
Surprisingly, there is no information about the origin of 505 cases as either the patient’s address was not available or it could not be traced.
Hindustan Times visited some of the most affected areas in the city. Reports from ground zero:
Dwarka: This sub-city southwest of Delhi has recorded maximum cases of chikungunya. Till now, 20 cases have been officially reported. Six cases have been reported from villages and unauthorised colonies, while the 14 have been reported from private communities and DDA flats.
Doctors said the reason for higher number of cases here is because of the high reporting. “The general landscape of Dwarka is either private gated communities or DDA colonies. It is majorly a middle-class neighbourhood. Since people are more educated and aware, and there are many private health care facilities, the reporting of the disease is high,” a senior physician at a private hospital in Dwarka Sector-12 said.
He said they receive cases from unauthorised colonies around Mahavir Enclave and Palam, where Delhi Jal Board (DJB) connection is not available. “Residents store water in containers/tankers in these areas, which becomes major reason for breeding of mosquitoes,” said Puneet Goel, commissioner, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
Masjid Moth/Gautam Nagar: Their neighbourhood’s proximity to India’s two top hospitals—AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital — is not helping the residents here. The two colonies have together “officially” reported 21 chikungunya cases so far.
“Last month my son fell sick with chikungunya and I took him to AIIMS. But we didn’t get any space as the ‘dengue ward’ was flooded with patients. He was released in 15 hours after getting basic treatment. Now, my wife is suffering from chikungunya and I am getting her treated at a local clinic,” said Manish Gupta who lives in Gautam Nagar.
Rajesh Bharal from Masjid Moth knows at least seven people (including his brother and a tenant who is a doctor at Safdarjung Hospital) who contracted chikungunya. Residents say even after the colony got a legal tag, sewerage has not been built. “There is stagnant water everywhere,” said Bharal.
Okhla: Almost every second house has an illegal basement and being close to the Yamuna floodplain doesn’t help. “The water from the aquifer seeps into the buildings. Most residents don’t pay attention when mosquitoes start breeding in this stagnant water. It is not surprising that Okhla is always worst affected by dengue every year,” said a malaria inspection officer.
PhD student Kaiser Iqbal, whose cousin died last month of dengue, said Jamia Nagar, especially those areas on the banks of the Yamuna, is the most neglected. “Everyone is sick in this part of the city. Nobody comes to check the cleanliness or the mosquito breeding here. The government needs to look into the problems of residents here.”
Mohammed Shahid (33), who lost his brother to dengue, said cleanliness is a problem in the area. “The MCD did not conduct any inspection in our area. Because of the massive area under construction, water gets accumulated in the narrow lanes. It is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which is why the most people affected by dengue are in Jamia Nagar.”