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Dengue Cases Continue to Rise in Delhi – All About Its Variants

Dengue cases have been on the rise in many parts of the country.

Updated
Health News
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Dengue variants DENV2 is said to be the dominant strain affecting people in India.</p></div>
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Even as COVID-19 slowly ebbs, and the daily case county falls, it doesn't look like India will get a respite from viral infections any time soon. The Monsoons don't help either.

Cases of viral fever have been on the rise in many parts of the country. The unusual surge in serious illness leading to deaths, especially among children has put health authorities on edge.

Rainfall and poor measures to keep mosquito breeding in check has resulted in spike in dengue cases in Delhi, which has seen 480 cases so far this year, The Indian Express reported.

According to the civic report on vector-borne diseases released on Monday, one death and a total of 723 dengue cases have been recorded this season till October 16. This is the highest since 2018 for the same period.

A 35-year-old resident of Sarita Vihar died of dengue at Holy Family Hospital last month – the first death this season, a senior official of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said.

Last month, FIT had spoken to experts who attributed this spike in severe viral fever to a 'new' strain of Dengue which they said was dominating this time around.

What do we know about Dengue variants? FIT answers your FAQs.

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What are the new dengue variants that are being talked about?

According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), the virus that causes dengue is called DENV and there are 4 known serotypes or variants of this virus (DENV 1, 2, 3, and 4).

Of these variants DENV 2 and DENV 4 have been found to be the cause behind the surge in viral in fever in many parts of the country right now.

Are they really new variants?

No, both DENV 2 and DENV 4 have been known for years, in fact it isn't even the first time that the variant has been identified in India.

Speaking to the press last month, Kerala health minister Veena George had said that the particular variant DENV 2 had been identified in Kerala before in 2017, reported Onmanorama.

Why then, are they in news now?

Speaking to FIT, Dr Om Shrivastava, infectious diseases specialist at Jaslok Hospital Mumbai explains, "it isn't a new strain, but at this time it appears to be more dominant."

"It is arousing more clinical interest at this time because of the kind of clinical impact it has had in a number of places in India," he adds.

Dr Srivastava also explains that public health reporting has been more extensive since the COVID pandemic began, adding that "now we pay a lot of attention to molecular monitoring."

Where in India has DENV 2 been recorded?

So far, 11 states in India including Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Odissa have reported cases of dengue variant DENV 2.

The Union Health Minister had sounded an alarm last month in all these states and asked them to take quick action to curb the spread of the virus.

Parts of UP saw a surge in cases of viral fever and Dengue which has been spreading rapidly and proving fatal especially in kids.

Are Dengue variants more dangerous?

It is difficult to pin point what the implications of the variants will be. At this point, Dr Shrivastava explains, all we can say is that the variant DENV 2 seems to be the dominant variant among those infected with dengue in India.

Parts of the country, including UP, and Maharashtra have seen a rise in severe dengue cases this time around as compared to the previous years, and doctors hypothesis that it may be because of the variant.

Can you develop natural immunity from Dengue variants?

Yes, according to WHO once a person is infected with Dengue fever, they develop immunity against that serotype for life. However, they can be infected by a different serotype or variant in the future.

(Written with inputs from The Indian Express and ONmanorama)

(Subscribe to FIT on Telegram)

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