In the midst of covid pandemic, Centre shot a letter to all states and union territory however, the letter had nothing to do with the deadly disease. Central govt in fact wrote to states highlighting measures to control vector borne diseases such as dengue.
Centre said that it was imperative to control the disease and measures for protection against the dengue must be accelerated
- Excerpt: Centre’s letter to States
- ‘Rapid response teams should be ready’
- ‘Alert all hospitals, ensures medicines are available’
Focal Point: Uttar Pradesh
Centre’s letter comes at time when Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad has witnessed at least 60 deaths linked to Dengue. The biggest cause of concern is that majority of these fatalities are children. Official reveal close to 100 health camps have been set up across the district.
Multiple measures are reportedly being taken on ground with officials clearing mosquito larvae and water pooling in households. The process of fumigation is also being conducted in the state.
Suspected cases have also been detected in other cities such as Lucknow with over 50 instances being reported since July this year. With instances of overcharging emerging, officials have now capped testing prices in the city at ₹1,200 for NS1 ELISA tests at lab & ₹1,400 for home tests.
- Understanding Dengue
- Mosquito borne viral infection
- Seen in tropical, sub-tropical areas
- Caused by Flaviviridae Virus
- Symptoms include High Fever, headache, pain behind eyes, muscle & joint ache, nausea, vomitting and swollen glands
- Clinical signs include severe abdominal pain, vomitting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, restlessness & fatigue
- No specific line of treatment
- Source: WHO
The D2 Strain
Dr Balram Bhargava, who is the director general of ICMR has revealed the a particular strain of Flaviviridae Virus also known as DENV 2 or simply D2 is linked to the surge in areas of Uttar Pradesh such as Agra, Mathura, Firozabad and Aligarh.
This strain is known to be more infectious and virulent & often leads to Dengue Shock Syndrome
In fact, a survey conducted by National Institute of Virology studied nearly 5,000 dengue samples from across the country. The study that began in 2018 shows infections linked to D2 strain have earlier been seen in states such as Andhra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Rajasthan.
Situation in national capital
In Uttar Pradesh’s bordering area of Delhi, at least 106 cases have been reported so far since August. Whereas in 2020 only 1,072 cases throughout the year. Meanwhile 68 cases of malaria and 40 of Chikungunya have been recorded here since January.
A double whammy!
This surge in dengue cases comes at a time when there are several concerns over a possible third covid wave in the country. Healthcare facilities are extremely fragile in small towns thanks to pandemic and if dengue cases continue to surge, these facilities may not be able to manage the load in cases.
Doctors could be left to face with tough choice of utilisation of resources. With many health professionals diverted towards vaccination drive and covid management, concern remains over mitigation process.
Measures to be taken by officials
Increase testing & sample collection
Prepare contingency plan
Form Rapid Action Team
Increase door to door survey
Screen urban & rural slum areas