ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Overburdened Hospitals, Distressed Kins: Dengue Wreaks Havoc in West Bengal

Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Published
Fit
5 min read
story-hero-img
i
Aa
Aa
Small
Aa
Medium
Aa
Large
Hindi Female

Rupa Kole (45) has been spending sleepless nights since her husband, Kanto, was admitted to the Howrah district hospital on 9 October with complaints of severe fever and frequent vomiting.  

Within a day of admission, doctors confirmed that he was suffering from dengue and his platelets had dropped dangerously – to just 90,000 For an adult man, a platelet count of 1.5 lakh to 4 lakh is considered normal.

“He was having high fever and was vomiting at least 10-12 times a day. We immediately rushed him to the hospital."
Rupa Kole
Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Rupa Kole tells FIT that her husband's platelets dropped to 90,000.

(Photo: Gurvinder Singh/FIT)

Kanto, who hails from Howrah's Kona, is one of the many in West Bengal who have been affected by the most recent dengue outbreak in the state.

While Kolkata has been the epicentre of dengue outbreaks in the state for a few years now, this time, more and more cases are being reported from rural areas – especially from areas in the Howrah district.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

1.38 Lakh Cases, 60 Deaths: Dengue Outbreak in Numbers

The latest death recorded was of Sidhartha Bala (25) on 10 October at the Beliaghata Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kolkata.

Bala, a resident of South Dum Dum Municipality Hospital – one of Kolkata's worst affected pockets– had been suffering from fever, stomach ache, and chest pain since 7 October.

His platelet count had dropped to 64,000. 

Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, due to dengue, according to official sources.

This year, a total of 1.38 lakh dengue cases have been reported in West Bengal in the past five weeks alone, since the first week of September, according to official sources.

Of these, 90,000 cases were reported from the rural pockets. All the rest were from urban areas, sources told FIT.

The number has significantly increased from 2022 when 67,271 cases and 30 deaths were recorded due to dengue.

Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state.

(Photo: Gurvinder Singh/FIT)

The government has, however, not revealed any official figures on either the deaths or the cases.  
0

'Rural Areas Severely Affected'

In Bengal, North 24 Parganas is the worst affected area, followed by Murshidabad, Hooghly, Nadia, and Howrah districts. 

Montu Das (50), who hails from Domjur, told FIT that his wife Kalpana (43), was hospitalised with high fever and vomiting on 10 October.

"Kalpana has been vomiting frequently for the past 2 days and suffering from very high fever. The condition is not stable yet."
Montu Das, Kalpana's husband
Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Montu Das's wife Kalpana has been hospitalised with dengue.

(Photo: Gurvinder Singh/FIT)

With rural areas being severely affected, dengue has spared no one – not adults, not children.

Debanjana Shee (16), a Kolkata resident, contracted the virus last month. A class 10 student at a government school, she was rushed to a private hospital with high fever where doctors confirmed she had dengue.

Shee had to be hospitalised for three days. But it took her nearly a whole month to recover.

“She is too frail and weak and has joined school on 11 October. She remained bed ridden for number of days after returning from the hospital and could barely walk.”
Sima Shee, Debanjana's mother
Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Debanjana took nearly a month to recover from dengue.

(Photo: Gurvinder Singh/FIT)

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

A Sleuth Of Health Concerns

But dengue alone isn't the cause that hospitals have had an increased workload in the last one month.

There's also panic among people because of the outbreak, because of which they are rushing to their nearest health facilities.

Priyanka Sharma (28) has been suffering from severe fever, when she fell unconsciousness. Assuming she had also contracted dengue, she went to the Beleghata Hospital in Kolkata.

“We brought her to the hospital suspecting dengue but the medical reports have been negative. We have got a big relief after getting the report.”
Vicky Sharma (28), Priyanka's husband
Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Priyanka Sharma feared that she had contracted dengue but the reports were all negative.

(Photo: Gurvinder Singh/FIT)

Dr Sajal Biswas, Secretary of Service Doctors Forum, an association of doctors in West Bengal, alleged to FIT that the government is not doing enough to control the cases.

“It is true that the workload has increased due to panic among the people but the government cannot shy away from its responsibility. The onslaught of dengue is an annual affair but no steps are taken to control it. Even the government woke up late from its stupor resulting in the steep rise in cases. The government should ensure that cases remain controlled during the upcoming Durga Puja.”
Dr Sajal Biswas

What Dr Biswas says is corroborated by Kole's claim that there is a comfortable breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes in most districts in Howrah.

Kole tells FIT that her house is surrounded by wild bushes and stagnant water.

She adds, “The municipality staff hardly comes to clean the stagnant water and often the house waste is thrown there, that makes it unbearable to live here due to the filthy smell. We have been requesting the officials to run a cleanliness drive regularly but to no avail.”
Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Garbage dumped on the roads.

(Photo: Gurvinder Singh/FIT)

Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

(Photo: Gurvinder Singh/FIT)

FIT reached out to senior health officials in West Bengal, but they refused to comment on the matter.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

What The Government is Doing

With Durga Puja just around the corner, a lot of the health officials were on leave. But in a meeting held at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation on 11 October, the government has cancelled the leaves of all the staff indefinitely involved in dengue control.  

“Some areas within peri-urban panchayats such as central government offices and quarters, closed godowns, and factories are still posing risk due to water accumulation.”  
Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim
Around 60 people have lost their lives to dengue across the state, in the last one month, according to sources.

Apart from this, a slew of other announcements have also been made to tackle the situation.

  • Cleanliness drives on 15-16 October will be held across West Bengal.

  • The cleanliness drives will be helmed by ASHA workers, children, and other stakeholders.  

  • An advisory will be sent to Puja pandals to maintain cleanliness in their premises.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from fit

Topics:  Kolkata   West Bengal   Dengue 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
×
×