Delhi / Dengue cases in Delhi cross 1,000-mark, 283 cases reported last week

Zoom News : Oct 26, 2021, 12:43 PM
New Delhi: After a massive second wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) earlier this year, hospitals in the city are now witnessing a surge in dengue cases -- the figure crossed the 1,000-mark as 283 new cases were reported in the city last week -- with doctors reporting over 60% increase in the number of cases over the last month.

The Capital reported 1,006 cases of dengue till Saturday, of which 665 were reported in October alone, according to the weekly report released by the municipal corporations of Delhi.

To be sure, October is the month that the city sees the highest number of dengue cases each year – 346 cases of dengue were reported in October last year, accounting for 32.2% of the cases reported in the entire year; 787 cases (38.6%) in 2019; and 1,114 cases (39.8%) in 2018.

With the increase in the number of cases, fever beds in hospitals are filling up fast in the city, doctors said.

At Lok Nayak, 400 beds are currently earmarked for Covid-19 and 100 beds for the treatment of fever patients.

“There has been an increase in the number of dengue patients. We are admitting 5-10 patients daily. There are some cases of other viral fevers, and malaria and chikungunya as well. We have set up a fever clinic from where the patients are referred to the 100-bed fever ward. Currently, the ward is half full. If there is a need, the number of beds will be increased,” said a senior doctor from the hospital, on the condition of anonymity.

The Delhi government reduced the number of beds earmarked for Covid-19 in private hospitals from 30% to 10% last week, with the extra beds to be used to treat dengue and other fever patients.

Dr Suranjit Chaterjee, senior consultant of internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo hospital, said, “Nearly one third of our admissions are currently dengue patients. There has been a 30-40% increase in the last two weeks in the number of dengue cases we are seeing.”

Dr Rommel Tickoo, director of internal medicine at Max hospital-Saket, said there has been a 60% increase in the number of dengue cases over the last month. “A high proportion of the complicated dengue cases are coming in from neighbouring states, mostly Uttar Pradesh. The cases come in with typical dengue like symptoms, which suggests that the more severe type is circulating there. That is not to say we are not seeing any severe case from Delhi – there are some cases where there is a drop in platelet count and liver dysfunction,” said Dr Tickoo.

He said that people must get tested for dengue within three days of getting the fever and keep an eye not only on their platelet count but their haemoglobin level and liver function. “People think that the platelet count is the only predictor of severe dengue, but a drop in BP is more dangerous; dengue hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) is a common complication. Your platelet count may be fine, but you might die of dengue,” said Dr Tickoo.

Dr Suranjit also reported liver parameters being abnormal in his dengue patients. “One should always be under the care of a local physician as soon as they get fever – many people start taking antibiotics and pain killers thinking its Covid and that is a no-no for dengue. Also, once the fever subsides, that is when the platelet starts dropping, which people do not realise as they feel okay.”

So far this year, Delhi has seen only one death due to the infection, which happened in late September and was added to the data last week after investigation. One death due to dengue was reported last year, two in 2019 and four in 2018. The highest number of dengue deaths in New Delhi in a single year was reported in 2015 when a deadly outbreak claimed at least 60 lives, according to official figures.

There are four serotypes of dengue virus – types 1 and 3 are the milder serotypes while types 2 and 4 are associated with severe disease.

Patients suffering from serotypes 1 and 3 have symptoms like fever, headache, body ache, and pain behind the eyes. Type 2 is associated with more severe disease leading to drop in platelet count, inability to form blood clots, and internal bleeding. Type 4 is associated with leaking of fluids from the capillaries leading to drop in blood pressure and circulatory shock (not enough blood reaching the organs).