Even as the city reported a 7% rise in dengue cases between 2014 and 2015, the burden of infection in the community is even higher, said doctors. Last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) epidemiology cell reported 919 confirmed cases of dengue as against 861 cases in 2014.
However, doctors said the civic body is under reporting the burden of the infection.
“Any major hospital in the city would have individually reported as many cases as they (BMC) are reporting for the entire year. Two-third of the world population is at the risk of contracting dengue,” said Dr Pradeep Shah, physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.
Dengue which is transmitted by the aedes aegypti-species of mosquito, public health experts said has become endemic to Mumbai.
“Last week, we treated two children for dengue. We are treating cases all around the year now,” said Dr Bhupendra Avasthi, Surya Children Hospital in Santacruz.
Mumbai had recorded the highest number of dengue cases in the state last year. According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme Maharashtra is among the top 10 states with the highest dengue burden — with 4,164 cases and 21 deaths recorded in 2015.
The civic body counts only those cases as confirmed where the patient has tested positive for dengue infection using the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) method of testing-a more advanced laboratory test compared to the spot test-which is popularly used by doctors. “We have treated several patients who have classic symptoms of dengue but their blood reports test negative for the infection,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious disease specialist adding that the interaction between the dengue virus and the environment needs to be studied further.
The civic records show that the number of deaths dropped from 12 in 2014 to eight deaths last year.
“There are instances where a death occurs even before the patient can be tested. Dengue is killing many people and most deaths remain unnoticed,” said Dr Avasthi adding that the corporation should consider making ELISA testing mandatory to know the real burden of dengue infection in the community.