HYDERABAD: Amidst the dengue epidemic in Telangana, that has already claimed a number of lives, the recently-released National Health Profile of 2019 by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence indicates a rise in vector-borne diseases in the State in the last four years.
In 2018, when the country witnessed a spike in chikungunya cases, Telangana accounted for 3.8 per cent of the total chikungunya cases in the country. The state also witnessed an increase in Japanese encephalitis and dengue cases.
The health profile flags the increase in positive cases of chikungunya between 2014 and 2018. While 1,687 cases were recorded in 2014, the numbers varied in the subsequent years with 2,067 cases in 2015, 611 cases in 2016, 1,277 cases in 2017 and 1,954 cases in 2018. In 2018 alone, Telangana was the seventh-highest contributor of chikungunya cases in the country, while Karnataka topped the list with 35.31 per cent.
Incidentally, Andhra Pradesh managed to control the virus, reducing the chikungunya cases by almost half, from 1,359 cases in 2015 to 622 cases in 2018. In Telangana, the number of positive dengue cases as well as deaths have gone up, from 704 cases and one death in 2014 to 1,831 cases and two deaths in 2015, 4,037 cases and four deaths in 2016, 5,369 cases in 2017, 4,592 cases in 2018 and more than 9,000 cases in just 2019.
Another deadly disease that has witnessed an upward trend in numbers is Japanese encephalitis. This is an infection of the brain caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). From eight cases in 2014, the state has recorded 20 cases in 2018.
However, there is one silver lining with regard to malaria cases with the number of cases dropping significantly. The state has seen a sharp dip from 5,189 cases in 2014 to 1,787 in 2018.