The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shadow of dengue on PM family
- Disease spreads fear in capital with toll at 16

New Delhi, Oct. 4: Two grandsons of the Prime Minister have been admitted to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences with suspected dengue.

The hospital authorities refused to confirm or deny, but a source said Madhav — a first-year student at St. Stephen’s College — and Rohan were in AIIMS on suspicion of being infected with dengue.

Unofficially, it is learnt that tests have confirmed Rohan, 11, son of Manmohan Singh’s second daughter Daman who is married to IPS officer Ashok Patnaik, has dengue. It was not yet clear if Madhav, son of his eldest daughter Upinder, a reader in history at Delhi University, has also been infected.

Madhav’s father Vijay Tankha, a senior philosophy professor at St. Stephen’s, is admitted in AIIMS, too, but it could not be confirmed if doctors were suspecting dengue.

Suspected victims have to undergo a battery of tests before they can be confirmed as having been infected with dengue. A deeply private person, the Prime Minister is trying to stop ailments in his family from being turned into a public spectacle.

Both the grandsons and the son-in-law were taken to the government-owned AIIMS despite the fact that dengue has struck on the campus, killing one student. Besides, top politicians frequently use private hospitals for themselves and their family members.

The source said Rohan was admitted late yesterday evening after he complained of joint pain. “He also had high fever,” the source added.

Madhav was admitted today. His younger brother, Raghav, also has fever and is under observation at home, the source said.

Madhav and Rohan are being kept in separate wards, cordoned off from other dengue patients. AIIMS has around 70 dengue patients now, up 20 from yesterday. Four people died in the hospital of dengue today, taking the capital’s toll to 16.

The AIIMS administration stepped on the pedal to control the disease on its campus — one student has died and over 20 students and nurses are confirmed as infected.

An emergency meeting of the AIIMS top brass was held in the afternoon to come up with a plan to tackle dengue, fast assuming proportions of an epidemic.

Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss is meeting his counterparts from Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana tomorrow since the disease has struck mostly in northern India.

In Bengal, three cases of dengue — all in Calcutta — have been reported till October, health minister Surjyakanta Mishra said. Last year, 12 people had died in Calcutta with the disease being prevalent between August and November.

Delhi has reported a large number of cases — 600 — but the count in Kerala is the highest at over 700.

Ramadoss, however, said: “There is no need to panic and harbour apprehensions. We have a problem and it is a matter of concern. It is not an epidemic.”

In the capital, civic bodies have started a drive to check mosquito breeding, fumigating the Prime Minister’s residence also.

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