About 800 fresh dengue cases have been reported in Kolkata between the first and second weeks of this month, officials of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) have said.
There has been a sharp rise in dengue infections in North 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda and South 24-Parganas, a statement issued by the state government on Sunday said.
Bengal’s home secretary B.P. Gopalika chaired a meeting on the dengue situation on Sunday. The statement, which was issued after the meeting, stressed source reduction, rather than spraying of larvicide, to contain the spread of the disease.
Several hospitals in the city are filled with dengue patients. An official of one of the hospitals said they were wondering whether they need to reschedule some planned surgeries to accommodate more dengue patients.
Doctors and KMC officials said it was unlikely the infection rate would slow down soon. Traditionally, September and October witness a sharp rise in dengue cases.
The state health department does not disclose the number of dengue cases. The Telegraph spoke with multiple KMC officials over several weeks and tracked the growth in dengue infections.
The KMC updates its infection numbers once a week. An official had said the number of dengue cases — since January — reached around 1,900 in the first week of September. Another official said the count had gone up to 2,700 in the second week of September.
Which means, around 800 people had tested positive for dengue between the first and second weeks of September.
The numbers are likely to rise through the rest of September and October. Hospitals in the city are being filled with dengue patients.
There were 45 dengue patients at the Beleghata Infectious Diseases Hospital on Sunday. “The number of dengue patients has steadily remained in the range of 40 to 50 for the last few weeks,” said a doctor at the hospital.
“The infection rate will fall only a few weeks after the rains stop. We are experiencing frequent spells of rain and the rate of infection is unlikely to fall soon,” said Kaushik Chaudhuri, a doctor and the nodal officer (dengue) at the hospital.
At Peerless Hospital, there were 57 dengue patients under treatment. Sudipta Mitra, chief executive officer of Peerless, said the hospital had only about 20 dengue patients at the start of September.
“We have witnessed a sharp rise in admission of dengue patients. The bed occupancy in our hospital is very high and admission of dengue patients has been a reason for that,” he said.
Mitra said the Emergency department of the hospital is flooded with patients running a temperature and complaining of associated problems. “We are asking many of them to undergo a dengue test,” he said.
Belle Vue Clinic was so overwhelmed by dengue patients that at one point they were apprehending whether they had to push back some planned surgeries. “We reached the peak this year, in terms of admission, on Wednesday. We had 39 dengue patients under treatment at the hospital on Wednesday,” said Pradip Tondon, chief executive officer of Belle Vue.
On Sunday, the hospital had dengue 32 patients.
“Dengue infections are rising at such a pace that we are apprehending whether we have to postpone some planned surgeries to admit dengue patients,” Tondon said.
Woodlands Hospital had 18 dengue patients on Sunday. Rupali Basu, managing director and CEO of Woodlands, said there were 13 patients about two weeks ago. “Our dengue occupancy has increased from 15 a few days ago to 18 now. Five of the patients are in the critical care unit. Our weekly dengue admissions have remained constant at around 20 on an average for the last three weeks. The overall situation is under control with no perceivable change in the progress of the disease,” she said.