The death toll due to a mysterious dengue-like fever that has wreaked havoc in Western Uttar Pradesh has claimed at least 51 lives, news agency ANI reported on Sunday, 5 September, citing government sources.
As many as 475 persons inflicted with the disease are presently admitted in Firozabad's Autonomous State Medical College.
A Times of India report, dated 3 September, had posited that Firozabad has seen over 65 fatalities due to the disease over the past few weeks, with the deceased including 50 children.
Characterised by high fever, a sharp drop in platelet counts, along with cold and cough, the dengue-like fever has gripped thousands of people in western Uttar Pradesh within two weeks.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Meets Health Officials
As thousands of people across Western Uttar Pradesh have been admitted to hospitals with high fever, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday met health officials in the state to assess the health crisis.
The chief minister directed health authorities to assign a nodal officer for each of the state's 75 districts to monitor the fever's spread, who would also be responsible for rescue and relief work in flood-hit areas in the state.
With more than 65 fatalities being children, the state will focus on carrying out a widespread sanitation drive to help control the spread of the fever, which has been linked with dengue in many cases. Adityanath also directed state authorities to distribute pure water across districts, along with chlorine tablets for water purification.
Across many districts in western Uttar Pradesh, primary health centers (PHCs) are seeing a sharp rise in children being admitted to hospitals and health centres with symptoms like fever, cold, congestion, and vomiting, reported Quint Hindi.
As the deadly fever claims more lives with each passing day, distraught villagers in Mathura plead with medical teams to help save them from the dengue-like fever.
CM Visits Firozabad, 3 Docs Suspended for Negligence
Firozabad, which is 40 kilometres away from Agra, is the worst-hit district in the state.
As per a report by The Times of India, at least 5,000 people are battling the viral fever in their homes, PHCs or private hospitals. The district has recorded more than 50 dengue deaths so far, with 100 people being in critical condition.
Due to a high number of cases, patients are now being referred to hospitals in nearby districts for treatment.
Chief Minister Adityanath visited Firozabad to assess the situation firsthand, where the District Magistrate (DM) suspended three doctors from duty over charges related to laxity and negligence, reported Outlook India.
District authorities have also warned government doctors with strict action in case of negligence in treating new patients.
A senior medical department official told Outlook that cases with similar symptoms as those in Firozabad had also been reported from other districts like Etah, Mainpuri, and Mathura.
Baghpat Sees Threefold Rise in Patients, Opens Opds
In Baghpat, a district on the banks of the Yamuna, doctors and health officials have noted a threefold increase in the number of patients being admitted to hospitals. The district, which had around 250 OPDs last month, now has over 600 functional OPDs owing to widespread dengue cases.
As a preventative measure, district authorities will set up health camps and carry out door-to-door check ups for fever and other symptoms, reported Quint Hindi. Baghpath Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Dinesh Kumar also told them that health workers going for door-to-door check ups will also be provided with kits for dengue, malaria, and typhoid, as these illnesses spread more during the monsoons.
Speaking to The Times of India, CMO Dr Kumar said that a community health center (CHC) in Baraut, which used to get 60 patients at most in a day, has now been seeing more than 200 patients in its OPD each day since the last 10 days.
14 Die in Mathura, Villagers Protest, Demand Hospital
In Uttar Pradesh's Mathura, 14 people succumbed to the viral fever, of which 12 were children. As per Quint Hindi, Koh village, which is the worst-hit in the district, saw a protest against the district's CMO as locals demanded the construction of a new hospital for better treatment and to prevent more deaths.
While Hindustan Times reported that medical teams were successfully able to identify more than 20 cases of scrub typhus (a kind of typhoid infection) in Mathura, they were unsure if it is the same illness causing the grave widespread illness in Firozabad.
Apart from Koh, 12 other villages in Mathura are battling this widespread illness.
Lucknow Sees Sharp Rise in Patients Since Thursday
Lucknow saw more than 400 patients, and 40 children, turn up with viral fever at OPDs at government hospitals across the city in the last two days, reported Quint Hindi. Of all the new patients that have come in, more than 20 percent of them have complained of fever, cold and congestion, added the report.
Hospitals in the city saw a total of 15 percent patients with viral fever, as compared to a 5 percent total in the third week of August. While it is yet unknown whether the spike in fever and dengue cases is due to changing weather or some other reason, some officials fear this health emergency to be the onset of the third wave of the pandemic.
Due to this, OPDs have been instructed not to allow patients into the OPD section of hospitals without conducted a COVID-19 rapid antigen test.
Concerning Conditions Across Districts in Uttar Pradesh
The city of Meerut is also battling the health crisis, as thousands of people flocked to health centers with fever and cold, reported Times of India. Mainpuri saw eight deaths and "scores" were affected in Muzaffarnagar as well, according to the report.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took to Twitter to question whether the state government had learnt anything from its handling of the second wave of the coronavirus.
Citing a news report, she called on the government to fight the current health crisis with all possible resources.
Mainpuri, Etawah, and Kasganj had been reporting new cases with similar symptoms, which health officials from these districts suspect to be dengue.
(With inputs from ANI, Hindustan Times, Outlook, and The Times of India)