After dip in 2020, dengue cases see a six-fold rise
This six-fold rise is dengue cases is mainly due to the fact that the pandemic and ensuing lockdown led to reduced mobility and less testing in 2020
Mumbai The city has recorded over six-fold rise in the cases of dengue this year. Data released by the civic body showed that the city saw 821 cases of the mosquito-borne disease as of November 23, compared to 129 cases in all of 2020. This rise is mainly due to the fact that the pandemic and ensuing lockdown led to reduced mobility and less testing in 2020. In 2019, 920 dengue cases were recorded in the city.
The city’s executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare said the situation is under control if the cases are compared to the previous years. Civic officials said reduced mobility of people played a crucial role in the decline in cases in 2020. A section of the population could have also gone untested, as the manpower in the laboratories was largely directed towards Covid-19 related work, and such patients may have simply relied on online consultation for treatment.
“Now that mobility has increased, people are stepping out to go to offices, markets and walks. All these activities automatically increase the chances of mosquito bites,” said Dr Nitin Karnik, head of medicine at the civic-run Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion. He has been admitting six to eight confirmed cases of dengue every week. “But many patients are coming to our hospital from other parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR),” he said.
Dengue is spread by the female Aedes Aegypti mosquito that breeds in clean water and is known to be a day-biter. The symptoms include fever, joint pain, severe body ache, rashes, persistent vomiting and nasal bleeding. There is no direct treatment for dengue and most interventions are for symptomatic relief. The infection is caused by one of the four closely related serotypes of the dengue virus (DENV) identified as DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. Studies have shown that the DENV-2 accounts for the maximum number of cases in Mumbai and Maharashtra.
According to Dr Karnik, many dengue patients are being admitted to hospitals with severely low platelet count, neurological complications like altered sensorium and renal involvements. “Such patients require Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions. When patients come with a platelet count below 10,000, it becomes a huge risk factor for bleeding in the brain,” said Dr Karnik citing a case of a 25-year-old full-term pregnant woman whose platelet count had fallen to 5000. “We had to keep her in the ICU, give about seven units of platelet transfusion and wait till her count went up to 80,000. She delivered a week later without any complications,” he said.
Infectious disease expert Dr Om Srivastava said there have been a fairly high number of dengue cases since September. “The jump definitely cannot be trivialised,” he said adding that he generally avoids admitting dengue patients unless they have a risk factor involved. “A majority of the dengue patients can be managed at home,” he said.
“We are also getting a lot of patients with classic viral symptoms who are not testing positive for dengue, chikungunya or malaria,” said Dr Paritosh Baghel, an internal medicine consultant at SL Raheja Hospital (a Fortis associate hospital). “These patients have a fever, joint pain, body aches, rashes as well as low platelet counts. We commonly label them as cases of unknown viral illness,” he said.
The city has also recorded 60 cases of chikungunya- another viral infection spread by the infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito- this year, after zero cases consecutively in 2019 and 2020.