The Municipal Corporations of Delhi registered 29 new cases of dengue in the week ending July 30, taking the total number of cases to 119. This is more than twice the number of cases confirmed during Delhi’s worst ever dengue outbreak in 2015, which affected 16,000 people and killed 60. Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain urged people not to panic and insist on hospital admission as it burdens the health system.
Work to prevent dengue started earlier this year with the Delhi government setting up a Special Dengue-control Cell in May to work closely with the civic bodies on breeding-control and raising awareness. The cell used data to identify the population and places in Delhi which are at risk of dengue. “Nearly 65% of the people affected by dengue last year were between 15-45 years. These are people who step out of their homes to go to schools, colleges or work. The data has also been used to map the hotspots. Breeding control measures were intensified in these areas,” said Dr SM Raheja, in-charge of the dengue control cell.
“There is no shortage of hospital beds in Delhi. A maximum of 5% of dengue patients need to be admitted to the hospital .The rest can be treated in OPDs,” said Satyendra Jain, Delhi Health Minister. Instead of only checking buildings for mosquito breeding, the MCD has come up with innovative and eco-friendly solutions to prevent the disease, such as “dengue-free coolers”. “We have allowed private hospitals to increase their bed strength by 10-20%, this will add at least 1,000-1,500 beds,” said Jain.
While the price for NS1 Antigen (NS1 Ag) and Elisa MAC tests – required for detecting dengue – has been capped at Rs. 600, a platelet count test will cost Rs. 50 at all hospitals and laboratories.