New poorly planned cities could catch dengue fever | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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New poorly planned cities could catch dengue fever

As new cities come up in an unplanned way in India, the dengue virus will find its way into cities that had no prior history of the infection, according to a multinational study on the global burden of the dengue. Snehal Rebello and Priyanka Vora report.

mumbai Updated: Apr 10, 2013 01:45 IST

As new cities come up in an unplanned way in India, the dengue virus will find its way into cities that had no prior history of the infection, according to a multinational study on the global burden of the dengue.

The first global mapping of the burden of dengue, by an international consortium led by Oxford University, marks India in red, indicating a high risk of dengue occurrence and reveals that India accounts for one-third of the infections across the world every year. Researchers have stated that climate and population spread are important factors for predicting the current risk of dengue.

"With globalisation and the constant march of urbanisation, the virus may enter areas that previously were not at risk, and number of infections may increase in areas that are currently affected," said Professor Simon Hay, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

Over the past three years, there has been a significant rise in the number of dengue cases in Mumbai. While there were 115 cases detected in 2010, the number jumped to 1,008 last year.

At present, there is no treatment or vaccine to treat the infection.

"We are already witnessing a change in the behaviour of the virus on account as global climate change leads to early completion of the vectors (carriers) life cycle from 15 days to only 12 days because of the favourable temperatures to breed ," said Dr Pradip Awate heading the epidemiology cell, directorate of health services. "With the way urban areas are structured, there will be stagnant water, low lying areas and overcrowding- factors that are responsible for spread of infectious diseases. We are prepared to accept that environmental and social economic factors play a role in spread of vector borne diseases," said Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious disease specialist, Jaslok Hospital. "There is a possibility of increase in morbidity and mortality."