While the monsoon in Delhi brings with it much-needed relief from the sweltering heat, it also gives rise to vector-borne illnesses like Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya. This year, the situation has been grim with regards to the number of cases and deaths, leaving citizens in despair.The first week of August alone witnessed 105 new cases, as per an MCD report and data after that has been unavailable.
Dengue has reared its ugly head in the form of a new, more severe strain, categorized as the DENV-2 strain. This has been associated with hemorrhagic fever and even fatality, experts suggest. The floods in the national capital, in the month of July, seem to have aggravated the issue, with water-logging and stagnant water becoming hubs for mosquito breeding.
According to reports in several news publications, the number of dengue cases reported until now, this year, has been the highest ever recorded, for the last six years. While this is the official data, we have no information on the cases that went unreported.
Various studies by well-known institutions have shown that in recent years, the D2 strain, which is potentially life-threatening, has become the dominant strain. A few symptoms of the illness include high fever, joint pains, a drop in platelets, nausea and even rashes.
While doctors recommend following basic practices like wearing clothes that cover the body entirely, to avoid exposure to mosquitos, there are some measures which can be taken by civic authorities in the capital. These must be coupled with ensuring proper garbage disposal, to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
We urge the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Department of Health & Family Welfare Government of NCT of Delhi to consider the following, so Delhi’s tryst with dengue becomes a thing of the past
Release month-wise data on number of dengue cases and dengue-related deaths for this year- last update was August 7, 2023
Initiatie anti-dengue programs like fogging, door-to-door checking of stagnant water and awareness drives involving waste collectors, in a rigorous manner
Amp up the number of Domestic Breeding Checkers, currently there are approximately 3000 in different zones
Use of drones for sprinkling anti-mosquito larvicide, a trial run was conducted by MCD’s public health department, but nothing thereafter
According to a report published in the news, dated September 26, 2023, Delhi recorded over 3,000 cases of Dengue and one fatality, in the last six months according to official data shared by MCD. In addition to that, a shocking revelation was that the number of cases for September 2023 is the highest in the past 4 years. There are allegations that the unofficial numbers may be higher.
According to Dr. Gita Prakash, General Physician, Max Hospital, Delhi " Dengue cases are flowing in... not just from crowded areas but from everywhere! Yes, the infection is rising rapidly and the DENV-2 strain is responsible for this rise. The government must ensure preventive measures are undertaken such as fogging, specially in residential and crowded areas. They must work together with the RWAs to ensure this. The most important thing is to ensure all drains and manholes are covered. These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes... All garbage bins should be covered and kept dry as far as possible. The municipal authorities must ensure this to tackle the Dengue crisis. All your plant pots and flower pots must not accumulate stagnant water. It is very important to educate families on what to do in case someone tests positive for Dengue. Additionally, the government must hold awareness drives... Patients with low platelet count must be well looked after. In so many cases, they go to the hospital and don't find a bed, which makes them severely sick. All of us must wear mosquito repellent, either the spray or the stick on and keep our utensils dry, as far as possible to prevent breeding of mosquitoes"
Sign the petition, urging civic authorities like the MCD to release data on dengue cases and deaths on a weekly basis and amp up anti-dengue programs in the city, so Delhi can be better prepared to tackle a surge in mosquito-borne illnesses.
P.S. If fever persists for 24-48 hours, kindly seek medical intervention.