The southern state of Karnataka is reeling under dengue with 10,524 cases registered so far in 2019. This is a 138% jump from 2018 when 4,427 cases were reported in the entire year.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness and, sometimes causing a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. This monsoon season disease has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years.
Up to 50-100 million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk.
The Karnataka government data released on September 9 shows six deaths due to the mosquito-borne disease. This is up from four fatal cases recorded last year.
TOI reported that 61% of the dengue cases — 6,515 — were from Bengaluru alone, which is governed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). In the first week of
September alone, 322 cases of dengue have been registed in the BBMP area.
After Bengaluru, Dakshina Kannada has the second highest incidences of dengue reported with the number standing at 948 cases so far.
The viral infection registered an increase across southern India in 2019: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala were among the five worst-hit states in India as of June.
This scenario sent alert to the national capital as well from where a team from the National Vector-Borne Disease Control programme, under the Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare visited Bengaluru a fortnight ago to take stock of the situation.
However, as per the state health department and BBMP, dengue is seeing a declining trend in the state. “In Karnataka, the highest number of cases have been from Bengaluru.
The BBMP has identified 50 wards in which 50 volunteers are conducting house-to-house survey for larvae detection, source reduction and to create awareness,” Dr BG Prakash Kumar, joint director of the National Vector-Borne Disease control programme, said.
Dr BK Vijendra, child health officer, BBMP, added: “The trend has changed in the past 15 days with cases coming down. The week-wise analysis shows a decline. However, the east and south zones of BBMP are the problem area where we have intensified mosquito breeding prevention measures.”
“The virulence has come down but we are seeing cases even now,” says Dr Ambanna Gowda, internal medicine specialist at Fortis Hospital.
TOI also reported that in the past week, five dengue patients have been admitted to Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road. The dengue death audit committee of the state government is set to examine the cause of every case of suspected dengue death by auditing the person’s house and hospital where the death occurred before declaring the death due to dengue, as per guidelines.
The health department is looking into eight suspected dengue deaths and the audit committee is yet to meet. “The meeting is likely to take place on September 17,” said Dr Prakash. So far, the committee has met in July and August.”
The menace of dengue is not the only disease plaguing the state. Karnataka has reported twice the number of measles cases in 2019 compared to the previous year; TOI said that officials attribute this to efficient case finding.
In 2019, the number of cases in the state was 101, nearly double the 52 reported in 2018. This was revealed at a workshop for health department officials.
Jawaid Akhtar, principal secretary, health and family welfare department, said the goal to eliminate measles by 2020 is tough to achieve.