Dozens of recorded deaths in India’s northern state of Uttar has been attributed to the outbreak of the deadly dengue fever.
These deaths have been occurring since the start of September even as authorities launch a campaign to destroy mosquito breeding grounds, according to Al Jazeera.
The chief medical officer, Dinesh Kumar Premi, in Firozabad, which is the most affected district in the country’s most populous state, said that 58 people, majority of them children, had died in his district alone, raising fears that the northern state is currently going through its worst dengue outbreak in years.
“We are taking preventive measures and 95 health camps across the district have been operating in order to contain the spread of this fever,” Premi said.
According to a government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the deaths of many of those children was due to the fact that their parents had initially taken them to fake medical practitioners, or quack professionals which worsened their conditions and resulted in their deaths.
An audit is currently underway to ascertain if the mosquito-borne dengue is to be deemed culpable for the many deaths, according to Ved Vrat Singh, Uttar Pradesh’s top public health officer. Although, while dengue is largely still being suspected as the cause of the viral fever outbreak, it has been confirmed as the cause of death in three cases.
In addition to the audit, teams are being formed to check households for waterlogging which could attract mosquitoes and fumigate the areas which at most risk and also released thousands of Gambusia, or mosquitofish, into water bodies to eat the mosquito larvae.
The dengue fever, transmitted by female mosquitoes, is mainly a tropical disease which has been circulating in India for hundreds of years. It is endemic in more than 100 countries, however, 70% of the cases are reported from Asia and children are up to five times more likely to die during a second dengue infection than adults.