Third killer in Delhi: Malaria toll rises to 5


There’s more bad news for the capital stung by dengue and chikungunya. The latest municipal corporation data shows deaths from malaria have gone up to five -from two last week -which means Delhiites are now under threat from all three mosquito-borne diseases.
The malaria toll is significant because, as per data collated under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Delhi had not witnessed a single death from the disease in the past four years. Civic agency officials said a 31-year-old man from east Delhi’s Mandawali succumbed to malaria at Safdarjung Hospital in September first week. In July , a 62-year-old man had died of the disease in northwest Delhi’s Jyoti Nagar. “Some of the other deaths may be of patients from neighbouring areas in UP being treated at city hospitals,” said a senior municipal health official. The city has recorded 22 cases of malaria this year.
Epidemiologists say the outbreak of these diseases reflects poor sanitation levels and total failure of mosquito control programmes. Delhi has recorded 2,625 cases of chikungunya and 1,378 cases of dengue this season, although the actual number is estimated to be much higher.
There have been at least four confirmed dengue deaths in the capital.
While malaria is spread by the anopheles mosquito that can breed in dirty water, dengue and chikungunya viruses are spread by Aedes aegypti mosquito that breeds in fresh water.
The panel set up by Delhi government to look into deaths due to dengue and chikungunya ruled out dengue or chikungunya as cause of death in several other cases.
In its report, the committee listed co-morbidities such as sepsis, acute kidney injury and pneumonia as complications that may have led to death of most patients.
For example, while Sir Ganga Ram hospital stated that Ashok Chauhan, 62, died due to chikungunya, the expert committee opined the patient had acute febrile illness with septic shock, acute kidney injury , multi-organ dysfunction, hypertension with co-morbid condition of chikungunya – thereby suggesting the other co-morbidities led to his death.
Similarly , in the case 60year-old Purnima Singh from Saket, Max hospital reported it to be a case of chikungunya death. The medical board, however, listed out co-morbidities such as diabetes, acute kidney injury sepsis with septic shock to opine that the viral illness did not cause the death.
In at least three deaths attributed to chikungunya and four attributed to dengue, the committee ruled against the hospital’s report citing lack of supportive documents. Meanwhile, the number of cases of chikungunya and dengue continue to spiral. ccording to a municipal report released on Monday , 2,625 chikungunya cases had been recorded in the national capital till September 17, marking a massive rise of nearly 150% from the previous count.

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