With 19,704 cases reported till September 6, the dengue cases in the country have already doubled this year. In 2014, the number of dengue cases stood at 10,097, with 37 deaths, through the year. This year, however, 41 people had died, though the Health Ministry said in a statement that with a fatality rate of 0.20 per cent, casualties remained “very low”. The highest fatality rate reported in India so far was during the 1996 outbreak, when it was more than 3 per cent.
With 1,259 cases reported so far, Delhi topped the list of cities with the most cases. However, Arunachal’s East Siang district with 1,618 cases (the state has reported 1,681 cases) was the district with highest number of cases, followed by Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh with 761 cases, Thiruvananthapuram (602 cases) and Kasargod (443 cases) in Kerala, respectively. Among cities, Bengaluru reported 1,139 cases, Greater Mumbai reported 306 cases and Kolkata saw 187 cases.
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The Union Health Ministry, meanwhile, is in talks with the Indian Council of Medical Research for a possible notification to ban rapid diagnostic test kits for dengue on the ground that at a 50 per cent error rate, the false positives given by the rapid test, was only adding to the panic.
“The rapid test gives a lot of false positive results, sometimes in up to 50 per cent of cases. We are discussing with ICMR whether we should issue a notification banning the kit. At present hospitals are required to notify only those dengue cases that have been tested either by Elisa or IgM,” said Director General, Health Services, Dr Jagdish Prasad.