NEW DELHI: Chikungunya and dengue continued to wreak havoc in Delhi with the death toll from the two vector-borne diseases climbing to 30 today even as the number of affected people crossed 2,800.
A 75-year-old man from south Delhi succumbed to chikungunya complications at a city hospital today, taking to 12 the number of fatalities due to the disease. The death toll due to dengue rose to 18 with half of the fatalities reported from AIIMS even as the number of cases of this vector-borne disease crossed 1,100.
J D Madan died this morning at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH), the fifth person to have lost life to complications triggered by chikungunya, at the hospital in last four days.
"He had acute febrile illness and was tested positive for chikungunya by rapid PCR test, and died at 6:45 am of chikungunya sepsis with septic shock and cardio-pulmonary arrest," hospital authorities said. Five deaths from chikungunya complications were reported till yesterday at Apollo Hospital here, and most of the victims were aged 80 or above.
AIIMS had confirmed one suspected case yesterday. The victim, an old man from Muzaffarnagar, had died earlier this month of multi-organ failure triggered by chikungunya. According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), the number of chikungunya cases in Delhi has spiked to 1,724 till September 11 as fever clinics in the city continue to be swamped with patients.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, meanwhile, said unlike dengue, chikungunya in itself cannot cause death. "Nadda ji(Union Health Minister J P Nadda) told me no one died of chikungunya in the entire country. People die directly of dengue. But medical literature says normally people do not die of chikungunya," he said.
The AAP government also requested the Centre to convene a meeting of the health ministers of neighbouring states to prepare a strategy to deal with dengue and chikungunya "outbreak" as many of the patients are coming to Delhi due to "lack" of proper healthcare facilities there.
In a report released today on vector-borne disease cases at AIIMS, the premier institute said, "Nine dengue patients have died from September 1 till date." At least 1,158 cases of dengue have been reported in the national capital with nearly 390 of them being recorded in the first 10 days of September, the month in which the vector- borne disease begins to peak.
Delhi is showing the spurt in chikungunya after nearly 10 years and health experts are conjecturing that this "upsurge" could be due to "evolution" in the chikungunya viral strain.
Dengue and chikungunya both are caused by the same aedes mosquito but dengue can be contracted through four viral strains while chikungunya is caused only by one strain.
Doctors say that chikungunya is not a life-threatening disease in general, but in rare cases leads to complications that prove fatal, especially in children and old persons.
Seven of the 12 chikungunya victims belonged to Uttar Pradesh, including two from Ghaziabad, and five from Delhi.
Meanwhile, AIIMS laboratories have tested 1,443 chikungunya blood test samples positive till September 13.