Caught napping

Published: Friday 15 November 1996

it took more than a 100 deaths in New Delhi to shake the government out of its apathy to the dengue epidemic. The World Health Organization ( who ) recently revealed that it had warned the Union health ministry and New Delhi's civic bodies in early September about an impending dengue outbreak. When the first cases were reported, who 's regional office had also issued detailed guidelines on prevention of dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever and its clinical management. So far, the epidemic has claimed more than 200 lives in the capital. Several cases of dengue have also been reported in Madras. The who said that if necessary steps were taken to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and break the transmission cycle, the disease could have been effectively controlled "within two weeks". Despite repeated warnings to the civic bodies and the health ministry, the who got no response. m eanwhile, the Delhi government has sought the help of Army and blood banks to meet the demand for beds and blood. The government has, at long last, directed the civic bodies to clear the garbage dumps and carry out spraying and fogging operations.

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