By Kinga Dema and Neha Sethi

You think someone wearing a full-sleeved shirt in this humid weather is bonkers? It might not be the latest fad but it is certainly a preventive measure. It is what the doctors are advising if you want to stay away from dengue. Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and other concerned agencies claim that preventive measures have been taken to fight dengue. But since the outbreak of dengue fever since this June, the cases are still increasing.

V K Monga, Chairman, Health Committee, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) says, “Till yesterday, 208 cases have been reported from Delhi for the year 2008.” He said the total number of cases reported last year was 548. He also added that the total number of cases is expected to be more than those of last year.

“The increase in the number of cases can be attributed to early monsoon and increase in the volume of monsoons this year. There is more humidity and also the temperature has not been very high this year,” he said.

While the agencies are busy bracing the outbreak with various measures, there seems to be a blockade on the way with the workers for the Domestic Breeding Catchers (DBC) going on strike.

This is being cited as another reason for a surge in dengue cases, points out Monga. “This problem will be solved shortly. They are demanding a regular government job, which is not possible. They are hired on a contractual basis. They are taking advantage of the situation because they know that this is the peak season for them.”
Monga claims that the MCD is ready to deal with the dengue cases. “I have visited one or two hospitals and seen the provisions. The supply of platelets and medicines is enough. There will not be any problem.”

Dr R N Singh, Chief Medical Officer, Malaria, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) claims that special beds have been earmarked for dengue patients in hospitals like AIIMS, Safdarjung, RML, Lady Harding and other hospitals which come under NDMC supervision.
So how harmful is dengue for you? Dengue is a viral disease which is transmitted to humans by the bite of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The severe form of dengue is called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). It can lead to a more critical stage called the dengue shock syndrome. It could result in death if not managed in time.

Dr Prena Chhetri, a resident doctor at Indraprasthra Apollo Hospital, says, “Unlike the nocturnal malaria-transmitting mosquito, the dengue mosquito bites during the day and breeds in clean water.” It also bites several times at a stretch without rest, which means ‘a single mosquito carrying the dengue virus could infect more people in a shorter time’.

But the good news is that Dr Chhetri says it is not difficult to keep yourself safe. “The safest option is to wear full-sleeved clothes and make sure that no stagnant water is there near your surroundings. The dengue scare is bigger than the actual diseases every year so don’t be paranoid, just take precautions.”
So this season, do your best to be free from the grip of dengue!