Apart from dealing with cases of mosquito-borne dengue fever, doctors in the Capital are reporting fevers owing to the common cold, flu, typhoid, sporadic episodes of malaria, and the occasional incidence of scrub typhus.
“It’s a mixed bag really; we are seeing some cases of all the seasonal fevers. That is why it is important that people consult their doctors if the fever doesn’t reduce in two or three days. People should only take paracetamol to control fever. Antibiotics and pain medicines must be avoided,” said Dr Suranjit Chaterjee, senior consultant of internal medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital. He said people must continue to take preventive measures. “These days, we see dengue cases well into October and November, so people must be careful and check for mosquito breeding in their houses and neighbourhoods. We also need to remember that Covid-19 is not over; everyone should continue wearing masks and maintain social distance. Scientists have said that there could be a third wave in October and November,” he said.
“Earlier, peak mosquito breeding would take place in September, now it extends into October. The transmission period has increased due to global warming,” said Dr Kalpana Baruah, additional director of, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, at a public lecture at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. She added that dengue’s reach also increased from a few pockets in the country in 2000, to several states in 2011, to the entire country, barring Lakshadweep and Ladakh by 2020.
She said if the number of dengue cases continues to rise at the same pace, the country might see one of the highest numbers of dengue cases this year. “India saw a high number of cases in 2019 – over 200,000 cases were reported. That year, only 35,000 cases were reported till September. This year, we have already reported 46,000 cases. If transmission continues like this, we will see over 200,000 cases this year too,” said Dr Baruah.
The Capital has recorded 273 cases of dengue so far, of which 149 were recorded in September alone. This is likely an underestimation as dengue, unlike Covid-19, is not yet a notifiable disease in the Capital; meaning hospitals and independent medical practitioners are not mandatorily required to report the cases.
“The number of cases in the city could be well into thousands; every doctor has eight to 10 dengue patients under their care,” said Dr RK Singhal, chairperson of the department of internal medicine at BLK-Max hospital.
Doctors said that despite the prevalence of serotype 2 dengue virus associated with a higher risk of severe disease, most people are not showing severe symptoms. “Although we do see cases wherein the platelet count goes down to 15,000 to 25,000, but even these patients have been recovering on their own with symptomatic management. They do not need platelets; they are not suffering from internal bleeding,” he said. A human body’s normal platelet count is 150,000 to 450,000
Seasonal flu, typhoid
“Although the number of cases has gone down from a month ago, we are still getting cases of influenza, H1N1, and fevers that might not test positive for anything. We are seeing a few cases of typhoid too,” said Dr Chaterjee.
Dr Singhal said, “If I get 10 patients with fever in my clinic – three are likely to have dengue, four– some other viral infection (such as seasonal flu), two typhoid, and one is likely to be a non-specific case. The good thing is despite all the fever cases, hospitalisations are low.”
He said that people can stay at home with a fever for two or three days, but must definitely consult a doctor if they start experiencing stomach aches and shortness of breath.
In addition to the common fever cases, Delhi doctors have also been reporting a few cases of scrub typhus, a bacterial infection that is transmitted by mites. Scrub typhus causes fever, chills, headache, body ache, and a scab-like area at the site of the bite.
“This disease was not seen much in Delhi, but nowadays we have started seeing a few cases during the rainy season. This is because of the huge construction sites that have scrubs where the mites that transmit the disease breed,” said Dr Amitabh Parti, director of internal medicine at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram. Dr Chatterjee also confirmed that there have been a few cases of scrub typhus at his hospital and a doctor from AIIMS said that there has been an increase in scrub typhus cases there as well.Dr Parti said it is essential that this disease also be considered when patients come in with a fev