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Delhi touches new record with 10,683 dengue cases reported till October 10

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: Health authorities said on Monday that with 10,683 dengue cases reported till October 10, Delhi recorded the highest number of patients of the viral disease in 19 years.

The last time dengue cases crossed the 10,000 mark was in 1996, when the city reported 10,252 patients, the authorities added.

The number of dengue cases reported from Delhi’s adjacent areas, suburban Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, and Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana, stood at 646.

According to the figures released by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, as many as 3,077 new cases were detected in the last one week.

Areas under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation witnessed the highest 2,432 cases while in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation areas witnessed the lowest  with 1,413 cases. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation recorded 2,307 cases in the last one week.

According to civic authorities, the official toll due to dengue in the national capital was 30, though the unofficial figure rose up to over 85.

Among the latest dengue victims confirmed by hospital authorities were a teenager and a 41-year-old man, who succumbed to the vector-borne disease on Sunday.

“The number of fever cases arriving at our hospital is more. The subject needs to be closely observed. In the middle of August, the number of cases went down but it is again rising,” AK Gadhpahilay, medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, told reporters.

“As winter arrives, dengue cases will see a decline,” he hoped.

A senior emergency medicine expert at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said, “Dengue seems uncontrollable now. The number of cases witnessed this year clearly indicates that municipal authorities can’t just depend on fumigation and light initiatives to prevent dengue. This has become a regular problem in every monsoon season.”

(With inputs from IANS)

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Skin Cream Used To Treat Warts, Skin Cancer May Help in Fighting Against Dengue, Zika Viruses

By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a 'silver bullet' for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases

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A study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases. Pixabay

A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study.

The cream, called imiquimod or Aldara, is commonly used to treat genital warts and some forms of skin cancer.

“This study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases,” said study lead author Clive McKimmie, from the University of Leeds in UK.

For the findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers studied four types of virus transmitted by mosquitos and found that applying a cream within an hour of a mosquito bite dramatically reduced infection rates in their models.

They used two different models to understand the effect of the skin cream – human skin samples and mice. In both cases, applying the skin cream acted like a warning signal which caused a rapid activation of the skin’s immune response that fights any potential viral threats. This prevented the virus from spreading around the body and causing disease.

“What is especially encouraging about our results is that the cream was effective against a number of distinct viruses, without needing to be targeted to one particular virus,” McKimmie said. “If this strategy can be developed into a treatment option then we might be able to use it to tackle a wide range of new emerging diseases that we have not yet encountered,” McKimmie added.

There are hundreds of viruses spread by biting mosquitoes which can infect humans. These include the dengue virus, West Nile virus, Zika virus and chikungunya virus, which have all had large outbreaks in recent years. At present, there are no anti-viral medicines and few vaccines to help combat these infections.

According to the researchers, when a mosquito bites the skin, the body reacts in a very specific way to try and mitigate the physical trauma of the skin being punctured. The bite causes a wound healing repair mechanism to begin, however, the skin does not prepare itself to respond to viral attack. This means mosquito-borne viruses that enter the skin through a bite are able to replicate quickly with little anti-viral response in the skin and then spread throughout the body, the study said.

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A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study. Pixabay

By applying skin cream after a bite, researchers found that they could pre-emptively activate the immune system’s inflammatory response before the virus becomes a problem. The cream encouraged a type of immune cell in the skin, called a macrophage, to suddenly spring into action to fight off the virus before it could spread around the body.

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“By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a ‘silver bullet’ for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases,” said study co-author Steven Bryden. (IANS)

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Philippines Bans World’s First Dengue Vaccine

Manila banned the sale, import and distribution of the Dengvaxia vaccine in February following the deaths

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FILE - Parents of children injected with Dengvaxia vaccine carry pictures of their loved ones as they attend a senate hearing regarding the vaccine at the Senate building in Manila, Philippines, Feb. 21, 2018. VOA

The Philippines stood firm Tuesday on its ban on the world’s first dengue vaccine while declaring a nationwide epidemic from the mosquito-borne disease that it said has killed hundreds this year.

Dengue incidence shot up 98% from a year earlier to 146,062 cases from January 1 to July 20, causing 662 deaths, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a news conference in which he announced a “national dengue epidemic.”

Manila banned the sale, import and distribution of the Dengvaxia vaccine in February following the deaths of several dozen children who were among more than 700,000 people given shots in 2016 and 2017 in a government immunization campaign.

Duque said Thursday the government is studying an appeal to allow French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi to put the vaccine back in the Philippine market, but ruled out using the drug to combat the ongoing epidemic, which has hit small children hard.

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The Philippines stood firm Tuesday on its ban on the world’s first dengue vaccine while declaring a nationwide epidemic from the mosquito-borne disease. Pixabay

“This vaccine does not squarely address the most vulnerable group which is the 5-9 years of age,” Duque said.

The vaccine, now licensed in 20 countries according to the World Health Organization, is approved for use for those aged nine and older.

Duque said the United Nations agency also advised Manila that the vaccine was “not recommended” as a response to an outbreak, and it was anyway “not cost-effective” with one dose costing a thousand pesos (about $20).

Dengue, or hemorrhagic fever, is the world’s most common mosquito-borne virus and infects an estimated 390 million people in more than 120 countries each year — killing more than 25,000 of them, according to the WHO.

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The Philippines in 2016 became the first nation to use Dengvaxia in a mass immunization program.

But controversy arose after Sanofi disclosed a year later that it could worsen symptoms for people not previously infected by the dengue virus.

The disclosure sparked a nationwide panic, with some parents alleging the vaccine killed their children.

Philippines, Ban, Dengue
Dengue incidence shot up 98% from a year earlier to 146,062 cases from January 1 to July 20, causing 662 deaths, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a news conference. Pixabay

The controversy also triggered a vaccine scare that the government said was a factor behind measles outbreaks that the UN Children’s Fund said have killed more than 200 people this year.

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Duque on Tuesday called on other government agencies, schools, offices and communities get out of offices, homes and schools every afternoon to take part in efforts to “search and destroy mosquito breeding sites”. (VOA)

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Dengue Outbreak Breaks Record in Bangladesh, Hospitals Struggle to Find Space for Patients

Dengue is mostly caused by Aedes aegypti mosquito

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Dengue is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito that typically attacks during day time. Pixabay

In one of the worst outbreak of dengue in Bangladesh, over 1,000 people, majority of them children, have been diagnosed with the disease in the last 24 hours, according to officials on Tuesday. While over 50 districts across the country had been affected, Dhaka, the national capital, home to more than 20 million people, was the worst-hit city with hospitals struggling to find space for patients, reports said.

Dengue is mostly caused by Aedes aegypti mosquito. “Aedes albopictus mosquito can also cause dengue,” Dr ASM Alamgir, a senior scientist at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told bdnews24.com. “This type of mosquito is common in districts outside Dhaka as well,” he said.

“If the mosquito bites a dengue patient in Dhaka and travels out, the disease can spread to those areas,” he said. Former IEDCR Director Mahmudur Rahman called the situation “a cause for concern”. Eight people have died since January and more than 13,600 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne fever in 2019. Of this, 8,348 cases have been reported in July. In June 1,820 cases had been reported and 184 cases in May, according to official figures.

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Eight people have died since January and more than 13,600 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne fever in 2019. Pixabay

Ayesha Akhter, Assistant Director at the Directorate General of Health Services, called it “the worst dengue outbreak we have seen in Bangladesh”. “We are making sure that all government and private hospitals are equipped to tackle the outbreak. A special section has been opened at Dhaka Medical College Hospital for dengue patients,” said Akhter.

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The Disease Control Division has sought technical assistance from the WHO to control mosquito population to help curb the spread of the diseases. The Health Ministry has developed national treatment guidelines and aims to raise awareness through advertisement in newspapers.

Several Asian countries are grappling with spread of mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue and malaria with the latter raising fears of a “potential global health emergency”. Multi-drug-resistant strains of malaria is spreading across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, according to two studies published in the Lancet. (IANS)