BMJ Examines Why India’s Dengue Epidemic Continues To Grow

This BMJ feature examines why India’s dengue epidemic continues to grow worse each year, stating, “In the past decade, according to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), the number of cases has escalated steadily from 3,306 in 2001 to 47,209 in 2012,” and “[d]eaths have risen from 53 in 2001 to 242 in 2012.” The disease has spread from urban areas into rural India, and “[n]early every state in India, including isolated islands such as Andaman and Nicobar, now reports cases,” according to BMJ.

“Epidemiologists tracking dengue say that one of the main reasons for the increase in cases is changing climate patterns,” BMJ continues, adding, “Despite government attempts to increase public awareness of dengue and despite the high visibility of the disease, community engagement has been less than adequate.” In addition, the mosquito that carries dengue “seems to be changing,” the article states, adding, “According to the senior officials of NVBDCP, the Aedes mosquito used to bite once only for its blood meal. New data show that the vector needs to feed several times, so an infected mosquito is likely to bite more than one person.” Noting “[t]he government has not yet implemented a robust mechanism for tackling the dengue epidemic,” BMJ states, “At the moment, … all the system is doing is bracing itself for an even greater onslaught of dengue cases in the future” (Chaudhuri, 2/4).

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