Delhi dengue outbreak worst in 19 years; not over yet

With 1,245 dengue cases reported in Delhi alone in just two days and the total number of affected people reaching 10,683, the outbreak this year has become the worst in the last 19 years.

According to data made available till 10 October by the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD), the total number of cases reported till 8 October was 9,438.

This is the worst outbreak in 19 years, crossing the 1996 figure of 10,252 cases. And the numbers are still increasing.

''We cannot say that the crisis is over because we are still getting many dengue cases in our outpatient department (OPD) and dengue wards even now. The numbers are just not going down,'' Dr SP Byotra, chairman of the department of medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, told The Hindustan Times.

''I noticed that in the past five to seven days the numbers had gone down, but they have started going up again,'' said Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

''Environmental factors have a role to play. Usually, we have seen that when a large number of people are affected, the numbers start going down only by Diwali. However, this year the numbers spiked earlier than usual, so it could go down early too. But there will be fluctuations in the statistics in the coming weeks,'' he said, explaining the cycle.

Although the number of incidents is higher than those reported in 1996, the number of deaths reported has gone down drastically. The MCD report states that 30 people have died of dengue this season. The numbers are much less than the 1996 figure, when 423 people out of 10,252 dengue positive cases died.

''Awareness is the key factor which resulted in the number of deaths going down. The numbers are the same, the strains are the same, yet we were able to revive people who had even gone to shock. At the slightest symptom, people got tested. They also ensured that they kept themselves hydrated,'' said Dr Byotra.

The hospitals were also better equipped to deal with the crisis, with separate dengue wards and fever clinics which could take care of dengue patients at the earliest, he said.