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Dengue outbreak in India kills 38

The dengue fever outbreak has killed 38 people and infected 2,900 several others in the capital, New Delhi and five other states.

Dengue outbreak in India kills 38

The dengue fever outbreak has killed 38 people and infected 2,900 several others in the capital, New Delhi and five other states. Dengue outbreak began in late August, which saw hundreds of people flocking to hospitals complaining of fever in New Delhi and in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Kerala. Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss said that the matter is of great concern, but it is not been declared as an epidemic. There have been 15 deaths and around 670 cases in Delhi and its surrounding areas alone, but the outbreak was not as serious as in previous years. The mosquito-borne disease peaks in October, which is a prime time for mosquitoes to breed after the end of the monsoon rains. Last year there were 157 deaths and around 11,000 cases nationwide. Dengue is transmitted through the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito - also know as the "Asian tiger" due to its striped appearance and aggressive behaviour. The virus, which occurs mainly in the tropics, causes symptoms such as fever, severe headache, joint and muscular pains, vomiting and rashes. Health officials say most of the cases involve the less dangerous strain of the virus, which is not known to cause the deadly dengue haemorrhagic fever and add that those who had died of the virus also had other complications. Authorities have been fumigating areas where cases have been reported and have launched campaigns to tell people how to avoid being infected. Posters and announcements on radio and television advise the public to use mosquito repellents, and clear rubbish and stagnant water pools considered breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The government has also imposed fines on those who do not clean areas around their homes and offices. Construction companies, some of who are poorly managing their wastewater and garbage will also be penalised. An outbreak at the country's top hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi last week, highlighted the scale of the problem. The state-run hospital was itself found to be a breeding ground for the virus due to poor cleanliness and sanitation, having ignored repeated warnings from local authorities. Officials said that 16 of the 48 cases there came from within the hospital itself. The World Health Organisation (WHO) officials say the state of hospitals in India and other developing countries is compromising the safety and health of patients. Newspapers reported the outbreak even reached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's family, with a son-in-law and two grandsons admitted to hospital with fever and due to undergo tests. Dengue is primarily a sanitation problem and secondarily a health problem. It is not only a government responsibility, it is a collective responsibility for households and individuals.
Reuters,
October 2006
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