Dengue bites Mumbai the most in September with 168 cases, 5 deaths

Report
from Times of India
Published on 03 Oct 2013 View Original

Sumitra Deb Roy, TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 01.57 AM IST

MUMBAI: Amidst cries of a dengue epidemic in Delhi, Mumbai also recorded its highest incidence in September alone with more than 168 cases. Of the six deaths attributed to the mosquito-borne viral disease this year, five occurred last month.

Experts are certain dengue continues to be worrisome. It started with 32 cases in June, almost doubled to 66 in July and quickly rose to affect 87 in August. The leap in September, though, was due to a probable viral built-up in certain city pockets, experts told TOI. Most cases as well as deaths were recorded from the highrises of western suburbs, from Bandra to Borivli. Goregaon, in particular, was the epicentre this year for reasons yet to be clearly diagnosed.

Civic statistics showed within September, most cases were seen in the last week, suggesting the viral onslaught may not be over with the rains. A state official said, "Though dengue cases have been pouring in from all over the country, we have reported the highest number of deaths at 31. The reasons could be both—more people getting affected or better reporting than by the other states. The worst may not be over for us yet given that Maharashtra's peak dengue season begins post-September." Nearly 3,000 dengue cases were reported from the state.

Intensivist Dr Khushrav Bhajan, who consults with P D Hinduja Hospital in Mahim, said dengue patients are outnumbering malaria's, but not many are coming with complications. "We have also treated an unusual case where a patient came with mixed infection of dengue as well as malaria. Such cases are tricky as both can bring down the platelet count rapidly. This patient recovered with timely intervention," he said.

At the national level, too, doctors are afraid dengue is creating havoc but not enough to shake the health ministry. The death toll recently crossed 100 while affected people totalled 38,000. Yet, Dr A C Dhariwal, director of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, ironically called the trend "predictable".

"The incidence is predictable as the virus spread is supplemented by the long rainfall and circulation of DEN-2." Infection with the Den-2 strain of dengue has globally come to be associated with increased severity.

On the other hand, malaria, also mosquito-borne, appears to be under control with not a single casualty. Fever and gastroenteritis, though, seem to be on the upswing with nearly 9,000 hospitalizations. H1N1 infection is up with 14 cases being reported.