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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Uttarakhand grapples with rising cases of dengue

For tackling the rising cases of dengue and preventing further outbreaks, Uttarakhand’s health department has now sought help from the Centre and a team of two doctors and two clinicians are on a two-day visiting to the state.

dehradun Updated: Sep 14, 2019 12:41 IST
Suparna Roy
Suparna Roy
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Doctors inspect a dengue ward at the Government Doon Medical College.
Doctors inspect a dengue ward at the Government Doon Medical College. (HT Photo )

With 1,340 cases of dengue being reported till now, Uttarakhand is facing a major challenge handling the rising cases of dengue in the state.

The maximum number of 810 dengue cases has been reported from Dehradun district, followed by Nainital district recorded at 451, as per data maintained by the health department.

Dr Pankaj Singh, assistant director of Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme in the state, said, “Three people have died in the state due to dengue till now. Hospitals report many more deaths but it cannot be termed as death due to dengue till a death audit confirms it. However, cases reported this year are quite high.”

As per records maintained by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme by Government of India, 689 cases of dengue were reported from the state in 2018 of which three people had died. In the past four years, maximum numbers of cases were reported in 2016, recorded to be 2146 cases.

For tackling the rising cases and preventing further outbreaks, the health department has now sought help from the Centre and a team of two doctors and two clinicians are on a two-day visiting to the state. An entomologist and epidemiologist are also a part of the team to see patterns of outbreak and prevent future outbreaks.

Dr SK Gupta, chief medical officer of Dehradun district, where the maximum number of cases has been reported said, “Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test which confirms dengue, are being conducted on suspected patients on a daily basis. Three patients who died in Dehradun district did not only die from dengue but those were co-morbidity cases that are the patients also suffered from diseases like diabetes, hepatitis and cancer. The number of cases from Dehradun is also high because people from other districts and nearby areas come here for treatment.”

The chief medical officer further informed that initially cases being reported were high from places like Raipur, Shanti Vihar, Vani Vihar among others, “but now we do not have any specific pockets from where more number cases are being reported. Sporadic cases are reported from across the district.”

In Kumaon region, doctors said that maximum cases were reported from Haldwani in Nainital district and sporadic cases were reported from places like Tanakpur and Banbasa in Champawat district.

Dr. Arun Joshi, medical superintendent of Susheela Tiwari Government Medical College , Haldwani, one of the biggest medical centers in the Kumaon region said, “Here, the maximum number of cases have been reported from Haldwani as being plain area, chances of spreading of dengue is high. The female adult Aedes mosquito, from whose bite dengue spreads, has a range of 100 to 400 meters and it can only survive in places till a height on 2500 feet above sea level.”

“Due to the height, we see that maximum numbers of cases of dengue are reported from the plain areas and not the hilly districts of the state,” added Dr. Joshi. According to the health department data, zero cases of dengue have been reported from the hilly districts of Bageshwar, Chamoli, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi.

He further added that the female Aedes mosquito can survive in temperatures ranging from 25 degrees to 35 degrees. Below 15 degrees the mosquito stops reproducing and goes into hibernation.

According to the World Health Organistion, “flight range studies suggest that most female Aedes aegypti mosquito may spend their lifetime in or around the houses where they emerge as adults and they usually fly an average of 400 metres. This means that people, rather than mosquitoes, rapidly move the virus within and between communities and places.”

When asked about what the state government is doing to curb the rising cases of dengue, urban development minister and spokesperson of state government, Madan Kaushik claimed that “the agencies concerned are taking various measures like spraying and fogging anti mosquito chemicals in Dehradun and other places.”

He added, “Apart from this, in Dehradun all the major government hospitals have been directed to provide proper treatment to any dengue patient. They have also been strictly directed to admit any patient who has come out Dengue positive in the test.”

First Published: Sep 14, 2019 12:41 IST

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