In view of the large number of dengue cases in the country,the National Institute of Virology (NIV) is studying,for the first time,the disease burden to assess its economic impact on the government and individuals. It will kickstart with a pilot study at two sites in and around Pune,before it is expanded to cover other areas of the country.
Till August this year,11,465 cases have been reported in the country and 83 deaths were reported including 18 in Karnataka,39 in Tamil Nadu,nine in Kerala and six in Maharashtra. Recent deaths were reported in West Bengal where Dengue-3 and Dengue-4 strains have been co-circulating.
Five dengue-like-fever deaths occurred in Jalgaon in Maharashtra and three samples tested positive,NIV officials said.
The high incidence of the break bone fever transmitted through aedes aegypti mosquito has led policymakers to direct NIV to study the disease burden.
NIV director Dr A C Mishra said a national policy on prevention and treatment can be framed once data is presented on how the illness affects the patient financially and what is the cost burden on the government.
Dengue symptoms are high fever with rashes,headache and a dip in platelet count,and if treated on time,the patient recovers in 10-15 days. If the case get complicated the patient had to be admitted to the ICU and it is only after an entire month that the patient gets normal. This impacts his/her work and can also prove a financial burden. NIV has identified two sites,Janata Vasahat in Pune and Vadu in Pune rural area to liase with hospitals and study patients.
The cost burden on the patient and the government is what we want to study, said Mishra.
NIVs dengue group that has been studying the disease profile of the virus and its evolution in a recent paper published online in Pub Med – a journal – showed the role India and Sri Lanka had in evolution and dispersion of the major genotypes of the Dengue 3 and Dengue 4 that are more virulent and can spread faster. It can be fatal if not detected on time and properly treated,says Dr Cecilia Dayaraj,Deputy Director,NIV.