31 dengue cases in Delhi till Aug 1; fever clinics set up, campaign intensified

New Delhi: Over 30 cases of dengue have been reported in the national capital till August 1 this year, even as the civic bodies have set up separate fever clinics to attend to patients afflicted with the vector-borne disease, authorities said on Thursday.

Besides, the corporations have also stepped up awareness campaigns as the dengue season has now coincided with the coronavirus pandemic the city is reeling under since March.

According to data shared by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), the nodal agency that tabulates data on the vector-borne diseases for the entire city, 31 cases of dengue has been recorded in Delhi till August 1.

The number of cases of malaria and chikungunya in the same period, stands at 45 and 18 respectively, it said.

In 2019, the number of dengue cases reported till August 1 was 40, while the total number of vector-borne disease reported throughout that year was 2,036, with two deaths recorded, officially, as per the data shared by the SDMC.

All three diseases, malaria, dengue and chikungunya are accompanied with high fever, a common symptom for COVID-19. And therefore, doctors say, people suffering from these disease might suspect they have contracted COVID-19.

North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash said, dengue fever clinics have been established at polyclinics run across the six zones of the NDMC.

“Yes, people affected by dengue will have fever, but there are other symptoms too in COVID, like breathlessness, loss of sense of smell and taste. So, we are raising awareness and telling people to go to polyclinics if having simple fever, or visit our COVID test centres in case other symptoms also there,” he told PTI.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Hindu Rao Hospital is a dedicated COVID-19 facility, and a testing centre.

Dengue mosquito larvae breed in clear, standing water, while those of malaria thrive even in dirty water.

Cases of vector-borne diseases are usually reported between July and November, but the period may stretch till mid-December.

“We have also stepped up our campaign to combat dengue, by extensive fogging in different areas, distributing hand bills having the dos and don’ts, and disinfectants for spraying in flower pots etc, where water stagnates,” Prakash said.

The mayor said, posters have been put up in various areas to make people aware, and differentiate between suspected dengue fever and suspected COVID case.

“People should not panic, we are trying our best to keep dengue cases to a minimum this year,” he added.

Doctors have advised people to take precautions and ensure that there is no breeding of mosquito larvae around them. They have urged people to wear full-sleeves and use mosquito nets.

Water coolers should be dried up when not in use as mosquitoes carrying dengue virus usually breed there.