KOLKATA: The city may be facing its worst dengue outbreak. Two children have died at BC Roy Children's Hospital since Sunday night and many of the 20 kids admitted to the hospital with dengue are in critical condition.
As in Salt Lake, there seems to be a deliberate attempt to suppress dengue figures. The health department website pegs the number of dengue affected at 542 in Kolkata, but civic officials admit the real figure is far higher.
More than 200 cases have been reported from Kasba, Garfa, Haltu and EM Bypass in the last four days alone, they said. To compare, 300-400 people were infected in the last major dengue outbreak in 2005, of whom 12 died.
A KMC borough chairman visited several hospitals and nursing homes in her area on Monday and allegedly asked them not to disclose dengue figures. "She asked the authorities not to press the panic button or share figures with anybody other than the KMC. Her message was very clear," said a civic official.
BC Roy authorities say they are yet to confirm dengue in the recent two deaths, but doctors acknowledged there were all the symptoms of 'dengue shock syndrome' that had killed a five-year-old at the hospital on Saturday. BC Roy is the only referral hospital for children in the state but it does not have facilities to test for the dengue virus. Samples have to be sent to NICED and the reports take up to a week to arrive.
On Sunday evening, a two-year-old died within half an hour of being brought to the hospital. Doctors said they couldn't confirm dengue for no test had been done. Less than 12 hours later, another child succumbed to high fever on Monday morning.