NEW DELHI: Dengue in Delhi has taken on the nature of an epidemic, official denials notwithstanding, many say. The disease has affected over 2,500 in the city, with 433 new cases reported in the last three days. The number of dengue deaths has gone up to 10—three were confirmed positive after Elisa test while the rest tested positive for the NS1 rapid kit test.
Health experts say official figures, though alarming, do not reflect the real situation. Most hospitals have run out of beds and demand for platelet has gone up several-fold in the last one month, almost equalling the crisis in 2010.
At Ambedkar Hospital in Rohini, one of the worst-affected areas, doctors say accommodating patients has become a daunting task, despite having turned sections of the surgical ward and disaster units into dengue wards. On Wednesday, a patient suspected to be suffering from the disease died after which relatives threw a ruckus and allegedly manhandled the resident doctor.
"There is no fall in the number of dengue cases. Our hospital's outpatient and inpatient departments are flooded with people sporting symptoms of the disease. Acquiring platelets has become a daunting task," Dr B D Athani, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, said. He said the situation is worse than previous years as a large number of patients have dengue haemorrhagic fever, a severe form of the disease that can cause sudden drop in platelet count and shock.
Dr S P Byotra, who heads the medicine department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, shared the same views. "The number of suspected or confirmed dengue patients seeking admission is several times the number of beds. The situation has turned worse in the past few weeks," he said. SGRH has reported over 600 confirmed cases. Dr Suranjit Chatterjee of Apollo Hospital and Dr Romel Tickoo at Max Hospital, Saket, confirmed that they, too, are facing a crisis of beds.
"I run a standalone lab. Even so, the number of dengue cases confirmed daily—15 to 20 on an average—is shocking. It is higher compared to previous years—2011 and 2012," Dr Navin Dang, consultant microbiologist and director of Dr Dang's laboratory in Hauz Khas, said.
He said dengue has assumed epidemic proportions again this year due to the sheer negligence of civic bodies. "Year after year, we face the same situation, and then the civic bodies tell us how they are working to contain the spread of the disease. Why can't they take preventive measures?" Dr Dang said.