Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH—Himachal should thankful to its climate not the public healthcare for minimal cases of dengue in the State. But state should not sit pretty as the urbanization will facilitate more breeding sites to dengue growth and state government should focus on strengthening public healthcare.
Rapid spread of dengue in many states has been headlines as the tally this year is nearly twice for the same period last year. Incidence of dengue cases has taken many by surprise as it is unseasonal to earlier trends. Present dengue epidemic in the region indicates once-obscure disease has become a great worry for the state governments across the country and also lays bare infirmities of public healthcare across the country.
According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare nearly 64058 dengue cases and 135 deaths had been reported from all states up to October, 2015. According to data, till October, Himachal Pradesh has reported 19 cases of dengue and one death compared to 5452 cases and seven deaths in Haryana. On the other, 8342 dengue cases and 10 deaths were reported from Punjab in the same period. The number of dengue cases in the city rose to 529. As per NVBDCP report, the country has reported 64,058 dengue cases and 135 deaths up to October 2015.
Up to October, 2015, as per report, Himachal Pradesh has the least number of dengue cases compared to other States. The state has reported only 186 cases of dengue and three deaths. Delhi, national capital of the country, is worst hit by dengue and tops the list. Delhi has reported 14,246 cases of dengue and 32 deaths up to October, 2015. The data shows that during the past seven year (2009-2015), Punjab had reported the highest number of dengue cases (16785) and deaths due to dengue (91) in the region followed by Haryana with 5751 dengue cases and 35 deaths. Chandigarh has reported 1177 cases of dengue and two deaths.
In 2009 and 2011, Himachal Pradesh has not reported any dengue case and death due to dengue. In 2013, Himachal Pradesh has reported highest number of dengue cases (89) while 1784 in Haryana; 4117 in Punjab and 13 in Chandigarh, the lowest number of dengue cases reported in the region. This year Chandigarh has reported more number of cases (551) in the last four years. The highest number of dengue cases in Chandigarh during the last four years was reported in 2012 which was 351. While the city recorded 73 cases in 2011.
The region has recorded manifold increase in the incidence of dengue cases this year compared to 2014. In 2014, Himachal Pradesh has reported two cases of dengue which increased to 19 in 2015, while Haryana reported 214 cases of dengue in 2014 that increased to 5452 in 2015. Whereas Punjab has 472 incidence of dengue in 2014 reported 8342 cases in 2015. In case of Chandigarh, it has reported 13 cases in 2014 that increased to 529 in 2015.
According to IMA Guidelines dengue normally is of Den 1; Den 2; Den 3 and Den 4 serotypes. Serotypes 1 and 3 are less dangerous as compared to 2 and 4. Rapid spread of dengue cases this year has taken many by surprise as the high incidence is unseasonal to earlier trends. Top health experts in Chandigarh say the present outbreak of dengue is that of Den 4 as against the outbreak of Den2 in 2013.
While reaching out the official of Health Department of Himachal Pradesh believes that the reason for low incidence of dengue in the state may be its climate and less urbanization. So the state should be thankful to its climate that protects the people from dengue’s sting. He added that there was a connection between weather variable, less urbanization and the incidence of dengue. He says that rapid urbanization provides more breeding sites to Aedes mosquito and facilitates increase in dengue cases in the country. “Higher mean temperature and high humidity foster higher rate of dengue incidence,” said he.
According to a study done by Donald Shepard, a health professor at Brandeis University in 2014 reveals that India has the highest number of dengue cases in the world. “We also need more tools and resources to control the disease,” warns he.