Dozens dead as India’s most populous state suffers worst dengue outbreak in years amid pandemic

·2-min read
At least 60 people have died due to the outbreak in the worst-hit city of Firozabad, in western Uttar Pradesh  (Getty Images)
At least 60 people have died due to the outbreak in the worst-hit city of Firozabad, in western Uttar Pradesh (Getty Images)

A dengue outbreak has swept across India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, killing dozens of people even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage.

Most infections were found in the western part of the state, especially in Firozabad, a city just 50 km from Agra and 300 km from state capital Lucknow. On Monday, two more deaths were reported in Firozabad, taking the total death toll to 60, according to news agency Press Trust of India.

Dinesh Kumar Premi, the chief medical officer in Firozabad, told Reuters that children accounted for most casualties. “We are taking preventive measures and 95 health camps across the district have been operating in order to contain the spread of this fever,” Mr Premi said.

According to The Times Of India, at least 12,000 people are now bedridden in Firozabad due to the outbreak. In 2020, dengue deaths fell across the country, with Uttar Pradesh reporting only six casualties. It reported 42 dengue deaths in 2016 —the highest since 2015.

Authorities have launched measures such as fumigation and checking for waterlogging to destroy mosquito breeding grounds.

This outbreak comes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already put pressure on thely health infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh is now dealing with a surge in hospitalisation and deaths — mainly of children — reported from dengue and other illnesses such as malaria and scrub typhus, a bacterial illness spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (berry bugs).

Heartbreaking scenes of people racing to get medical care for their children are emerging, with opposition parties targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for poor handling of the outbreak.

On Monday, news channel NDTV reported that a young girl lost her life because the hospital refused to admit her despite recording a high body temperature.

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