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Bihar records highest dengue cases and deaths in 5 years: What’s behind the surge

Context- Bihar has recorded more than 15,000 dengue cases with 59 deaths so far this year, according to the official records released on Tuesday (October 31). These are the highest numbers of reported dengue cases and deaths in the state in at least five years — there has been an increase of 608% in the number of cases between 2018 and 2023.

To make matters worse, the state may continue to witness a rise in dengue cases for the next two weeks, according to doctors.

(Credits- Firstpost)

Why have dengue cases and deaths soared in Bihar?

  • The primary reason for the rise in dengue cases and deaths in Bihar is the delayed monsoon season, which usually lasts till mid-September but this year continued till mid-October, said the doctors at Patna Medical Colleges and Hospital (PMCH) and Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS).
  • Erratic rainfall led to the creation of shallow, stagnant pools of water, especially in densely populated areas of Patna, in which mosquitoes thrived. Moreover, with winters yet to arrive, people have continued to use water coolers that are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, according to the doctors.
  • The rise in cases has come on the back of a lack of sanitation and proper defogging by the state’s municipal corporations, the doctors said. For instance, Patna Municipal Corporation said it didn’t have enough resources to tackle the untimely appearance of stagnant water pools across the city.

Have doctors witnessed any new dengue symptoms?

  • For the first time, doctors have witnessed liver and lung infections caused by dengue among the patients.
  • Doctors have also noticed that the patients are experiencing a recurrence of fever after 2-3 hours instead of the usual 6-8 hours. Some patients have suffered from body itching and swelling in their liver.

Is there a rise in demand for platelets in Bihar?

  • For the last 10 days, the demand has grown substantially in Patna. According to the standard protocol, patients receive platelets only after their count drops to 15,000 in number — a normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 per microliter of blood.
  • However, doctors have been injecting platelets even when the count is around 25,000 as a precautionary measure due to the high dengue death toll this season.

How many dengue cases and deaths has Bihar recorded in the last five years?

  • In 2019, Bihar saw a sudden spike in dengue cases — the number stood at 6,712 — in comparison with the previous year, when just 2,142 cases were reported, according to the data compiled by the National Centre for Vector Borne Disease (NCVBD). In both the years, no deaths were reported.
  • But in 2020 and 2021, the number of dengue cases in the state plummeted — in 2020, 493 cases were registered, and the next year, 633 were recorded. Notably, the two years were marked by the outbreak of the COVID-19.

Conclusion- The resurgence of dengue took place in 2022 — Bihar was among the worst affected states that year. A total of 13,972 cases were reported, out of which 32 died. Patna alone recorded 9,256 cases with 15 deaths. This was the first time since 2018 that Bihar recorded dengue deaths. These figures didn’t include the patients who received treatment or died at private hospitals and clinics.

Syllabus- GS-2; Health

Source- Indian Express

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