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No need to panic on dengue: Health ministry

New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Even as dengue cases continued to rise alarmingly, the health ministry Friday said there was no need to panic as the dengue strain was of mild variety. It also gave a clean chit to the Commonwealth Games venues, saying they were clear of mosquito larvae.

Briefing reporters on the dengue situation in the national capital Friday, Health Secretary Sujatha Rao said the present strain of dengue has ‘high mobility but low morbidity’ and only four deaths had been reported so far.

‘At present dengue serotype 1 virus is circulating in Delhi, which is known to cause large number of cases and fewer deaths,’ Rao said.

The World Health Organisation, however, says that the peak of dengue may be in the beginning of October.

‘The peak may be in early October,’ WHO coordinator for communicable diseases in Southeast Asia, Chusak Prasittisuk, said. However, Chusak added that the efforts being made by the Indian government and authorities are sufficient and there is no major threat.

Dengue cases in Delhi reached 1,625 Friday evening with four deaths reported so far.

The health secretary said that intense measures for reducing mosquitoes has resulted in decrease in mosquito breeding. However, she said it is not possible to erase dengue completely.

‘The measures for stopping mosquito breeding and destroying larvae show effect only after two weeks,’ she said.

Giving a clean chit to Commonwealth Games sites which have been blamed so far for the high number of dengue cases, Rao said as a result of intense campaigning CWG sites are now clear of mosquito larva.

‘There is no linkage in Commonwealth Games sites and dengue. Our reports show that the situation at the sites is well under control and the larval index (larva growth) is zero,’ she said.

‘With over 1.5 crore population, 1,500 cases is not a very huge amount for Delhi,’ she added.

Quoting figures from other countries, Rao said the dengue situation in India is not of an epidemic. She also criticised some Commonwealth nations for issuing advisories to their citizens on the dengue threat in India.

‘They also have dengue in their country, I don’t know why they have issued this advisory,’ Rao said. ‘Please don’t do that, Delhi is safe. If you can go to Bangkok why not Delhi,’ she said referring to the nations that issued advisories.

Australia, New Zealand, US, UK and Malaysia are some countries which have issued an advisory on dengue outbreak in Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

The health secretary also urged people to make sure that no water-logging takes place around their houses.

‘It can’t be done without people’s participation,’ Rao added.

V.K. Monga, chief of Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) health committee, meanwhile painted a grim picture of the situation, saying that this year would see the worst outbreak of dengue in five years.

‘The residents of Delhi should prepare for the worst outbreak of dengue in five years, as the number of cases has already reached the 1,652 mark with four deaths,’ Monga told IANS.

‘The situation will definitely be worse than in 2006 and this year’s number of cases will cross the tally of 3,366 cases then,’ he said.

‘Even though we are taking active steps to control the spread of dengue, the people should be more vigilant but not everyone is cooperative. Already we have issued about 11,000 fine slips and over 45,532 notices to residents for not checking collection of water in their premises,’ said Monga, stressing that people are being non-cooperative.

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