LUCKNOW, India (AP) – Infections that followed the monsoon rains led to an outbreak of fever in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh that killed at least 114 people in the past three weeks, he said. Wednesday health officials.
State Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh told The Associated Press that most of the cases were caused by dengue, a seasonal viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, followed by leptospirosis, scrub typhus and malaria.
Leptospirosis and scrub typhus are bacterial infections, while malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. They usually increase after the rainy season in India.
Singh said the dengue cases were due to a virulent strain called “D2,” which has been detected in some of the state’s districts in a sample survey conducted by a team from the Indian Council for Medical Research.
“This is a different strain compared to the regular dengue strain and you need to be careful,” he said.
Dengue, also called “broken bone fever” because of the severe pain it causes, is not always fatal, but severe cases may require hospitalization. It can cause internal bleeding, liver enlargement, circulatory arrest, and death.
Prevention efforts aimed at destroying mosquito breeding sites, such as removing trash or old tires and other objects containing standing water, remain the best ways to slow the spread of the disease, according to health experts.
Utkarsh Singh, a senior health official in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh state, said the district’s main hospital has recorded more than 1,200 fever cases related to the outbreak since August 30, prompting authorities to use hospital facilities reserved for COVID-19 cases. He said the patients, most of them children, suffered from high body temperature and episodes of chills.
“We don’t have enough beds to support them. We are forced to accommodate three to four children in one bed, ”said Singh.
The health system in Lucknow, the state capital, is also collapsing as a surge in cases has put pressure on hospitals there.
So far, the city has reported more than 1,500 fever cases related to the outbreak after authorities began conducting door-to-door surveillance last week.
“Viral fever has spread like wildfire across the state,” said Mehtab Alam of Raza Husain Memorial Charitable Society, a nonprofit health care organization.
Authorities are seeking resources to control the outbreak.
Ved Vrat Singh, the state’s top health official, said makeshift clinics equipped with malaria kits are being set up in villages where people are reported to be ill. He said mosquito control vehicles are also being deployed to spray at-risk areas and people have been warned not to allow the water to stagnate.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, often figures disproportionately among deaths from post-monsoon infections in the country due to the weak health system.
Thousands of people suffer from dengue, encephalitis, malaria, typhoid and other mosquito-borne diseases every year during the summer monsoon.