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India: Chikungunya toll mounts to 6 in Delhi, minister says the disease cannot cause deaths

According to a municipal report released on September 13, at least 1,057 cases of this vector-borne disease have been recorded till September 10. Photograph: (DNA)

New Delhi, India Sep 15, 2016, 09.14 AM (IST)
The health minister of India's national capital, Delhi, Satyendra Jain has reiterated that mosquito-borne disease, Chikungunya, cannot cause deaths, adding that it is a "fact" available on search engine, Google. 

The death toll from the vector-borne disease has mounted to 11 across the nation, with six more deaths reported on Wednesday. In the national capital alone, Chikungunya has caused at least six deaths. 

According to a municipal report released on September 13, at least 1,057 cases of this vector-borne disease have been recorded till September 10 in Delhi. 

However, Jain urged Delhiites not to panic and asked them to take precautions.
 
His statement comes amid scare as the number of cases continue to be on the rise with no intervention from the government to handle the menace. 

'No need to panic'

Jain remains convinced that the disease alone has not caused the deaths. Talking about the casualties, he said four out of five deaths were reported from the same hospital (Sir Ganga Ram hospital) which made the situation a little suspicious.

"Chikungunya deaths are not happening across the world. Why is it only in a select few Delhi hospitals? And upon enquiry, I have discovered that most of the deaths are of people who were aged and already sick with other ailments," the minister said.

"People of Delhi have no need to panic. The state government is ready to provide help at all cost. But one should get admitted only if the doctor advises them to do so and not because they are scared," he told the media in Delhi.

No complaints of medical shortage

Meanwhile, Indian health minister JP Nadda said that no complaints of shortage of medicine or doctors and testing facilities have been reported, adding that the India is fully prepared to tackle the crisis.

Nadda informed: "We today held a review meeting in regard with the upsurge of vector-borne diseases. In Delhi, an increase in cases of Chikungunya has been reported, and meanwhile, a large number of cases of fever has been reported. In West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka, cases of dengue have been reported. In West Bengal, cases of malaria have been reported."

He added that they have held three video conferences in the regard and called on the Delhi health minister, the  New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Municipal Corporation Department (MCD) to guide them on protocols that should be followed to counter the spread of the disease. 

"In one video conference, I addressed the state health ministers. The second was addressed by the secretary and the third was done by heads of vector-borne diseases," he said.

Nadda also urged the people not to panic and help in pacifying the current upsurge of mosquito-borne diseases. 

Dr DS Rana, the chairperson of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi, said: "Have just received an e-mail from the Government of India that deaths reported in the Ganga Ram Hospital of chikungunya positive patients should be probed a little more and information should be given to them."

"By and large the message is very clear that Chikungunya is not a very fatal disease, people should not get frightened. Hospitals are doing their best, be it government or private," he added.

Need to rise above politics

Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party has called for bridging gaps between the Delhi government and India's ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) to rise above politics and tackle the menace. 

Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra quoted chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as having said: “no matter what”, the various agencies and political parties will have to work together to tackle chikungunya that has so far claimed at least 10 lives in Delhi this season.

(WION with inputs from ANI)
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