A nine-year-old boy and a young woman have died of dengue, taking the season’s toll to 10 and underlining the link between a moribund monsoon and a sick city.
Doctors have blamed the abnormal trend of overcast skies and little rain for the outbreak of dengue and other viral diseases.
“It has been scientifically documented that heavy rain washes away larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that causes dengue,” said Amitabha Nandy, a former head of parasitology at the School of Tropical Medicine.
With the sporadic rainfall this season, the larvae are not being washed away, allowing mosquitoes to breed at a rapid rate.
In the latest case of death by dengue, 28-year-old Poly Maity, a resident of Jadavpur, was admitted at the Calcutta Medical Research Institute on August 25 with fever.
Rupak Barua, the chief operating officer of the hospital, said: “The patient was on ventilator and died on Sunday. She suffered dengue shock, which led to a drastic fall in her blood pressure and cardiac arrest. The patient had tested positive for the rapid NS1 antigen test and the confirmatory MAC ELISA test,” Barua said.
Nine-year-old John Daniel Gomes, who was admitted to Chittaranjan Sishu Sadan in Hazra on August 31 with fever, died late on Saturday. Hospital sources said the boy had suffered cardio-respiratory failure and septicaemia.
“The death was caused by septicaemia and cardio-respiratory failure triggered by dengue shock,” said a hospital official. The MAC ELISA test was positive, he added.
Around the same time, Anusree Samaddar, 11, of Tollygunge died at Park Clinic after suffering from symptoms of haemorrhagic dengue but testing negative in the confirmatory scan. Trinanjan Sarengi, in charge of intensive care at the clinic, said the girl’s rapid NS 1 antigen test was positive but the MAC ELISA scan was negative.
The health department on Sunday, however, maintained that there had been three dengue deaths in the city so far this season.
According to Swastha Bhavan officials, 554 people have tested positive in the confirmatory test and 1,574 people in the rapid antigen test in and around Calcutta.
But sources in the health care sector said over the past few weeks thousands have been suffering from an unknown fever and dengue and admitted to various government and private hospitals in the city.
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation said it would publish a white paper on the number of dengue patients and deaths by Tuesday. “We are being accused of suppressing figures. Deaths caused by other ailments are being attributed to dengue. We’ll publish a white paper to clear the confusion,” mayoral council member (health) Atin Ghosh.