Even as several hospitals across the city report fatalities due to dengue, official data released by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi maintains that not a single dengue death has taken place in the national capital so far this year.
The Indian Express spoke to senior officials at prominent public and private hospitals, who confirmed that they had seen deaths as a result of haemorrhagic fever, complications due to dengue, and co-morbid conditions.
Every week, the MCD releases a report on dengue, malaria and chikungunya cases and deaths. According to the latest data, 3,044 dengue cases and zero deaths have been reported this year. Civic body officials claimed the data was not being shared by hospitals, which is why it wasn’t part of the official bulletin.
Safdarjung hospital, one of the biggest central government-run medical institutions, said five patients each died due to dengue in September as well as in October, and one each in July and January. So far, the hospital has reported 813 cases.
At Lok Nayak, Delhi government’s biggest hospital, 313 cases were reported from August to October 29. Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of the hospital, acknowledged there were fatalities but added: “The number of dengue-related deaths were not very high this year as compared to the years before the pandemic.”
At Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, four deaths were reported in September and six in October. Official sources said this included patients from Delhi as well as outside. “Most of the patients who passed away had haemorrhagic fever,” said an official.
The situation was similar at GTB hospital where five patients died of dengue from September to November. “In September, 2-3 dengue cases were being recorded every day in our hospital, which increased to 4-5 cases in October and 6-7 in the first half of November. However, things have become better now and cases have slowed down,” said the official.
According to sources at AIIMS, 15-20 patients each day were being seen till mid-November due to the warm temperature, but the number has reduced now.
MCD officials who release the dengue report every week say they get data from hospitals from a Delhi government portal, which did not mention any fatality. “It is the hospitals which are responsible for misreporting as they did not disclose any fatality due to dengue, hence, we did not add it in our weekly report so far,” said an MCD official.
Hospitals, however, said they shared the data with officials concerned. State health secretary Amit Singla remained unavailable for a comment.
Dr Suranjit Chaterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, said that “the number of patients was high, but fatalities were not that high”.
Dr Charu Goyal Sachdeva, head of the department, Internal Medicine, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, said patients also came in with dual infections like typhoid fever or hepatitis A along with dengue fever.
“We saw a high number of dengue cases in the months of September and October – 20-22 patients every day. We have also seen a few fatalities in the ICU, mostly due to dengue shock syndrome,” she said.