Tuesday, October 7, 2014

India dengue fever cases 300 times higher than officially reported

Jason Burke in the Guardian (UK): The annual number of dengue fever cases in India is nearly 300 times higher than officially reported, according to a study by US and Indian researchers. The report also finds the sometimes-fatal viral disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, costs the emerging economic power at least $1.1bn (£700m) each year in medical and other expenses.

“We found that India had nearly 6m annual clinically diagnosed dengue cases between 2006 and 2012 – almost 300 times greater than the number of cases that had been officially reported,” said Prof Donald S Shepard, health economics professor at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, who led the five-year research project.

The scale of the under-reporting surprised researchers and will raise concerns that India’s response to the disease is inadequate, causing unnecessary suffering locally and undermining global attempts to restrict the spread of the virus.

“With most infectious diseases the public healthy community has been succeeding. Ebola is an exception but hopefully a short-term one. My hope for the next decade is that we turn the tide with dengue,” said Shepard, who has been working on dengue since the early 1990s....

The culprit, shot by ProjectManhattan, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 3.0 license 

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