New Delhi: At least 58 fresh cases of malaria were reported last week, taking the number of people affected by the vector-borne disease in the city this year to 288, a municipal report released today said. The total number of dengue cases has also risen to 180 while the chikungunya cases stand at 220 till July 29, it said.
The season for the vector-borne diseases kicked in mid- July and it generally lasts till November-end. Cases of all the three vector-borne diseases were reported much earlier this time, which doctors had attributed to early arrival of monsoon. Of the 288 malaria cases, 137 affected people were residents of Delhi while the rest of the cases diagnosed here were traced to other states. At least 79 cases have been recorded this month.
Of the 220 chikungunya cases, 140 of the affected people were residents of Delhi while the rest of the cases were from other states, it said. Sixty-three cases of dengue have been reported this month, while 15 were recorded in June. Dengue and chikungunya are caused by the aedes agypti mosquito, which breeds in clear water. The anopheles mosquito, which causes malaria, can breed in both fresh and muddy water.
Breeding of mosquitoes has been reported at 80,411 households in Delhi, according to the report. All the three municipal corporations have stepped up awareness drives — distributing pamphlets and plying vehicles with loudspeakers issuing dos and don’ts on prevention of the diseases.
The Delhi government had on June 23 issued instructions to state-run and private hospitals and nursing homes to increase their bed capacity by up to 20 per cent for the next six months to deal with a possible outbreak of dengue and chikungunya. The government has banned over-the-counter sale of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and brufen as their use may “pose a threat” to dengue and chikungunya patients.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had last month directed the authorities to make a comprehensive plan in the matter, while civic bodies are trying to combat the menace of mosquito breeding, in and out of homes, through regular monitoring. Six cases of dengue were reported in January, four in February, 11 in March and as many in April.
As many as 4,431 cases of dengue were reported till the end of 2016. On May 13, Kejriwal chaired a high-level meeting of officers from the three municipal corporations and the Delhi government to discuss plans to eliminate vector-borne diseases in the national capital.
He had also written to Union Health Minister J P Nadda, requesting him to reserve 10 per cent of the beds in the central government-run hospitals for the treatment of dengue and chikungunya patients. Till January 14, only two chikungunya cases were reported, while no dengue case had been diagnosed till then.
At least 15 fatalities were reported last year at various hospitals in the city due to complications triggered by chikungunya though the civic bodies have kept the death tally at zero. At least 21 deaths due to dengue were reported last year at various hospitals, including nine at AIIMS, though the official tally of the SDMC stood at 10.
Seventeen suspected deaths in 2016 due to malaria were also reported by the civic bodies. In one of the worst outbreaks, a total of 12,221 chikungunya cases were reported in Delhi till December 24, 2016, out of which 9,749 were confirmed.