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Dengue virus might have mutated: docs

mumbai Updated: Dec 10, 2012 01:19 IST
HT Correspondent

With the death of four-year-old Tasneem Jafari (in pic) on Sunday, the number of dengue-related deaths in the city has touched five, which is higher than the number of deaths reported in 2011 and 2010.

The civic health department’s data does not include the death of filmmaker Yash Chopra, who succumbed to dengue fever on October 21. “His reports were sent to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, which will confirm the cause of death,” said a civic official.

As per civic records, there were three dengue deaths each in 2010 and 2011. The latest victims, Tasneem, and her father Tariq died of dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome respectively.

“The mortality rate for dengue fever is between 0.4 and 0.6%, but the mortality in patients with dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome is higher,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, physician, Bhatia hospital.

Samdani suspects the dengue virus has gone through some mutation as dengue has not been reported in December earlier. It usually occurs at the end of the monsoon.

Doctors said this year the virus seems more virulent. Take the case of a young Walkeshwar-based couple, who were admitted to a south Mumbai hospital with dengue on Saturday. “Both have swellings on their face so they can’t eat,” said Samdani, who has five other patients with dengue under his care.

One problem, doctors said, is that people ignore symptoms and try to treat themselves. “Patients who get treated at an early stage can avoid complications,” said Dr Shahid Barmare, consultant physician, Kohinoor hospital, Kurla.

“We found seven dengue cases during a survey conducted in Malad after Tariq’s death. Our officers found breeding sites such as water containers around 100 metres from Tariq’s home,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, chief epidemiologist, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.