36-yr-old succumbs to dengue; toll in Delhi at 22

New Delhi: A 36-year-old woman died of suspected dengue here this evening, taking the toll from the disease in the national capital to 22 even as Delhi government claimed the health situation in response to the vector-borne fever has "improved".

Family members of the deceased woman, Amita Sharma, alleged medical negligence on part of a private hospital where she was first treated. While civic authorities are yet to update the official figure, which still stands at five, this was the 22nd dengue casualty reported in Delhi this season.

"She (Sharma) was admitted to a private hospital with fever, but wasn't properly treated there," alleged a family member. "We then took her to a government hospital, where she was diagnosed with dengue. After that, she was admitted to another private hospital under EWS category.

She passed away this evening due to multi-organ failure," the family member added. With the city in the grip of the dengue scare, thousands of fever patients flocked hospitals to get tested for dengue while several others were admitted for treatment.

"Even today (Sunday), a large number of patients visited the fever clinics which have been set up to deal with the dengue crisis. "People are still panicking as cases refuse to come down. Several patients having slight fever have also checked in at hospital fearing they have contracted the disease," a doctor at Safdarjung Hospital said.

Meanwhile, Delhi government today claimed that it was "winning the battle" against the deadly disease. "The health situation is now better and we are winning the battle the against dengue," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters here. More than 2,000 dengue cases have been reported this year.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain today conducted surprise inspection at Janakpuri's Super Speciality Hospital and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and took stock of the dengue preparedness there. Recently, 200 new beds were set up at the hospital to accommodate the increasing numbers of dengue patients.

The health minister also met representatives of School Management Committee (SMC) to spread dengue awareness in 1,100 government schools in the national capital. Meanwhile, a team of a municipal corporation staff were today allegedly not allowed to carry out dengue breeding checking at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's official residence here with the Delhi government saying that they had come only with the intention of "creating drama".

While the civic bodies, in a rather delayed response, are undertaking special preventive drives, Delhiites feel that the worst outbreak of the vector-borne disease in the last five years has exposed the "ill-preparedness" of the MCD in dealing with the menace. Union Health Minister JP Nadda today promised "whatever support" the Delhi government needed to fight the disease, saying it was not the time to engage in a blame-game.

Delhi Metro has also joined in spreading awareness on the disease. It has put up posters and banners at all stations and fed its public information display system with messages aimed at preventing further spread of the vector-borne disease Battling rising number of dengue cases, Delhi government has ordered that 55 government-run dispensaries be converted into 'Fever and Dengue Clinics' from tomorrow.

These clinics will operate from 7 am to 9 pm on all days, including Sundays and holidays, till further orders. Also, fresh showers in the city have stoked fears of dengue cases flaring up, with the Union Health Ministry issuing an advisory to Delhi government to "intensify" measures to check the breeding of mosquitoes in the national capital.

The ministry had earlier directed all hospitals under central government to not deny treatment to any patient suffering from fever or suspected dengue and has asked hospitals to increase their bed strength to accommodate more patients. The ministry also asked Delhi government to take action against any over-charging by private hospitals in treating dengue patients.

In 2010, the city saw a massive outbreak of the vector- borne disease, and eight official deaths and at least 6,259 cases were recorded. The year saw huge spurt in the cases due to construction activities happening as the Commonwealth Games were being hosted in the city.

While till September 12 this year, 1,872 cases were recorded, during the same period in 2010, 1,933 cases were registered. Central teams have visited high-endemic states which have reported a large number of cases to provide technical guidance for dealing with the situation.

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