Dengue cases are increasing in at least six districts of Bengal, including Calcutta. Unofficial estimates indicate more than 76,000 cases this year up to Tuesday, and there are no signs of a decrease in late October as we’ve seen in previous years.
This year, the state government hasn’t provided any official data on dengue cases. However, government officials who wish to remain anonymous have disclosed that the count reached 76,000 last week. This is significantly higher than the official figure of 67,000 cases last year. Typically, in previous years, we would observe a decrease in cases from mid-October as the temperature dropped. But this time, there are no indications of such a decline.
“We usually witness a downward trend in dengue cases from the second week of October. This year the number of cases is yet to come down and new cases are being reported from several districts. This year’s prolonged rainy season could be the reason for it. If the number of cases are not arrested by November 10, it will be a cause for concern,” a senior health official explained The Telegraph.
According to a source within the health department, the state has reported slightly over 76,000 cases this year as of Tuesday. North 24-Parganas has the highest number of dengue cases, with around 18,200 reported. Kolkata is second with 11,120 cases. Murshidabad, Hooghly, Nadia, and Howrah are also among the districts where the number of cases is still on the rise.
In September, the Opposition strongly criticized the public health system due to reports of deaths and a notable increase in the number of dengue patients in hospitals. Parties such as the BJP, CPM, and Congress took to the streets before Durga Puja, alleging that the state government was concealing dengue data to downplay the outbreak.
To address this issue, bureaucrats at Nabanna, including Chief Secretary H.K. Dwivedi, have organized several meetings over the past two months. They have been urging health officials in Kolkata and the districts to implement measures to control the rising number of dengue cases.
The rural development department had organized special training for the newly elected members of rural bodies, particularly in peri-urban areas. However, these efforts didn’t yield the expected results in several districts, including Calcutta. Approximately 9,000 new cases were reported during the festive season, according to a health official.
Dr. Siddhartha Niyogi, the director of health services, expressed a more positive perspective, stating that the trend was on the decline and under control. He mentioned that he didn’t have specific data to share but assured that the dengue situation is being managed effectively.