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Misc. News : Non-f.ood Things Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

Dengue Outbreak Strikes Indian Capital
By Kathy Jones
Oct 1, 2006, 15:22

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1 Oct, ( - An outbreak of dengue fever hit the Indian capital sickening at least 448 people and killing a medical student at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The mosquito-borne illness may be declared an epidemic if the situation does not resolve soon, according to health officials.

The Delhi government held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the fallout of a possible dengue epidemic. The dengue virus is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. Twelve medical students at India's premier medical institute, AIIMS, were hit by the dengue virus.

Of them Kamal Raj Kiran suffered the most and died Sunday afternoon despite having surgery to reduce brain hemorrhage. “Kiran, a native of Hyderabad and a seventh semester student of our institute, died this afternoon,” Binod Patra, a senior AIIMS resident doctor, said.

AIIMS authorities have admitted that the dengue situation was fast getting out of control. But an official told the Mumbai Mirror that measures were being instituted to control it. “If doctors have caught dengue, that too in the AIIMS, then there is something wrong somewhere. It could be that our support staff is not doing their job properly,” he added.

The dengue virus is spread by the bite of infected female Aedes mosquitoes and is endemic in certain African countries. It is especially seen in fresh water collections that are a breeding ground for Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

AIIMS officials said that directives have been issued to see that such breeding grounds are not located ear hospital premises, the students’ hostels and doctors’ residences. “Besides, we have also asked students and resident doctors to keep their water coolers clean,” the official said.

Some of the symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, severe headache, backache, joint pains, nausea and vomiting, eye pain, and rash. Available treatment for dengue includes analgesics as well as drugs like chloroquine.

Patients are also advised plenty of rest and are asked to consume plenty of fluids.

Meanwhile in Delhi, the civic authorities have launched a massive drive to control the spread of dengue. "We have also started random checks of homes, offices and places where there could be stagnant water breeding mosquitoes. We are spraying anti-mosquito drugs," said NK Yadav, the city's deputy municipal health officer.

Yadav said that more than 1,300 workers have been deputed to fan out over the city and check for areas that have stagnating water. "Since October and November are the most dangerous months for the breeding of mosquitoes, we have appealed to citizens to be on an alert," said Yadav. "This is a difficult situation and we need the co-operation of citizens. The administration cannot control the spread of the disease by itself."

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