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As Dengue Cases Surge in Uttarakhand, Health Officials Blame Climate Change

According to the Health and Family Welfare department, 3,799 cases of dengue have been reported from 4 districts of the Uttarakhand till Friday. The number may increase as post-monsoon weather will continue till mid-October.

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Updated:September 23, 2019, 1:40 PM IST
As Dengue Cases Surge in Uttarakhand, Health Officials Blame Climate Change
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At least 3,846 dengue cases have been reported in Uttarakhand so far this year. 7 fatal cases of the mosquito borne disease have also been reported. The Indian Express reports that this is the highest figure of dengue patients in the state in the past several years.

Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses. It causes a severe flu-like illness and, sometimes causes a potentially lethal complication. The incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years. Dengue fever symptoms include a fever, intense headache, body aches, joint pains, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes and mucosal bleeding. The disease can be fatal in nature if it’s not diagnosed and treated on time. There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, but adequate fluid intake and bed rest is important.

With maximum cases being reported from plains as compared to hills, Health department officials are citing climate change as a reason for spread of the disease. According to the data of Health and Family Welfare department, 3,799 cases of dengue have been reported in four districts of the state till Friday. Health officials are saying that the number may increase because post-monsoon weather will continue till mid-October.

Statistically speaking, this year, till September 20, 2,434 dengue cases have been reported in Dehradun and six people have died. This is followed by tourism destination Nainital, where 1,134 patients have been diagnosed with dengue and one of them has died. Haridwar district accounts for 146 cases, followed by Udham Singh Nagar (85).

Dr Pankaj Singh, Assistant Director (Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme), Health and Family Welfare department, said the geography of hill areas combined with low temperature and humidity do not support a dengue outbreak and breeding of the vector Aedes Aegypti. He said dengue is a climate change-driven disease and their larva reproduces in temperatures between 20°C and 30°C and humidity above 60 per cent. Such conditions, he said, was in plain areas like Dehradun.

“In conditions of normal monsoon and heavy rain, dengue cases were reported from September to mid-October when water remains stagnant and humidity rises after the end of monsoon. This year, dengue cases have been reported much earlier because of less and disrupted rain,” Singh said.

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