Dengue fever continued its spread in the capital on Tuesday with 40 new cases being admitted, taking the total to 997, as government hospitals began to reserve entire floors for patients of the mosquito-borne virus.
"Though efforts are being made to control the disease, the cases are still being reported continuously making the condition worrisome," said D.S. Negi, health secretary Delhi.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was where most of the dengue patients flocked to both from Delhi and outside. Since Monday, the hospital admitted 34 new cases even it discharged a similar number of patients.
"We are treating 173 cases of dengue in the hospital," said DK Sharma, medical superintendent AIIMS.
The virus has claimed 51 lives across the country, with 23 in the capital alone. The total number of patients in the country stands at 3,613. "We do not think there is anything to be worried about. The situation is under control, and we think it will improve soon," said Sharma.
The latest victim in the capital was Sato Devi, 35, who died on Monday. She had been admitted earlier in the day. "She was brought in a serious condition and died in the evening," said Sharma. Devi had been referred to AIIMS by a private hospital in west Delhi.
Some of the neighbouring states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were among the worst affected in the country, said Sharma.
AIIMS has reserved a ward covering an entire floor for dengue patients. Besides the medical fraternity, the assistance of social service officers has also been sought to tend to dengue patients, Sharma said.
AIIMS Director P Venugopal on Monday ordered all 50 heads of departments to spare two resident doctors and one senior faculty member to attend to dengue patients.
In addition, 50 medical interns were being deployed in the paediatrics, casualty and medicine wards, said Venugopal.
There are currently 8,000 units of blood available in the capital's blood banks. Around 30 hospitals have been provided links to the blood bank to help provide blood when needed.
Since Monday, 1,300 units of blood have been given to patients admitted in various Delhi hospitals.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's grandson, Rohan (11), and a son-in-law, Vijay Tankha, have been discharged from the hospital. Another grandson, Madhav (17), was still recovering in the hospital.
Rohan was discharged on Sunday, while Tankha was discharged on Monday, AIIMS officials said.
Besides Delhi, states with large number of dengue cases include Kerala (713), which is also facing an epidemic of chikungunya, Gujarat (424), Rajasthan (326), West Bengal (314), Tamil Nadu (306), Maharashtra (226) and Uttar Pradesh (214).
Dengue, caused by the bite of the female aedes aegypti mosquito which breeds in stagnant water, is marked by high fever, skin rashes and joint pain. Sometimes a sharp drop in blood platelet counts due to the disease can prove fatal.