Kolkata: The hospitals across West Bengal, both public and private, are overflowing with dengue patients. According to an official in the state health department, 800-900 cases are being reported on an average daily. This could send West Bengal to the top of the list among the states in the country where dengue cases have been reported, in just over a month.
According to the figures released by the National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NVBDCP), West Bengal had reported only 239 cases till August 31. In the 40-odd days since, the number of cases in the state has surpassed 20,000, the state health department admits. Apart from Kolkata, most cases are from districts like North 24-Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Murshidabad, Siliguri and Darjeeling. "Lack of proper sanitation, clogged drainage systems, accumulation of rain water due to unplanned urbanisation are some of the reasons behind this spurt. There has certainly been some negligence on the part of civic bodies entrusted with monitoring the situation and combating the threat. Sufficient intervention was not carried out and efforts weren't made to prevent the accumulation of water near human settlements. The presence of cattle sheds, encroachments and the like in urban and semi-urban areas added to the mess," the official in the state health department said.
There was hardly any activity by the civic bodies over the last fortnight due to Durga Puja celebrations across the state. State government offices -- including civic bodies -- have remained closed since October 1 and will open from Monday. Health officials hope that measures will be taken on a war-footing thereafter to prevent further spread as hospitals have started running out of space, despite opening temporary wards for the dengue patients. West Bengal's record hasn't been too good, so far as combating the disease is concerned. In 2015, it recorded fourth highest figures after Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. In 2016 and 2017, West Bengal was at the top of the list. No records were available for the next two years from the state. In 2020, West Bengal was again in second position after Punjab. Doctors say that more than the figures, people's suffering is what matters. —IANS