Thursday April 26, 2018

HC seeks status report on dengue from Centre, Delhi govt

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New Delhi:  Amid the rising cases of dengue in the national capital, the Delhi High Court on Thursday sought status report from the central and Delhi governments on the steps they have taken to control the mosquito-borne tropical disease.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said it was a serious issue and also impleaded civic agencies as parties in the case.

The court issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and sought their response by September 24.

“Issue notice to Centre, Delhi government. File status report explaining the steps already taken by them. File short affidavit within two weeks,” said the court.

Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that “government is on pro-active mode” and has been taking adequate steps to treat dengue patients.

“We have taken many steps. We have added 1,000 beds and planning to increase more beds in private hospitals. We are concerned for the citizens,” Mehra told the bench.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a law student Gauri Grover seeking registration of FIRs against directors of hospitals which denied treatment to a child who died of dengue and his parents later committed suicide.

However, the bench refrained from ordering lodging of an FIR and asked Grover’s counsel Satya Ranjan Swain to file additional documents relating to the negligence.

Dengue has claimed the lives of at least 16 people so far but the official toll is placed at five.

Delhi’s civic bodies have so far confirmed only five dengue deaths in the capital and the number of cases as 1,872.

With inputs from IANS

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Dengue Vaccine Should Not Be Used Widely: UN Health Agency

UN Health Agency issued an important statement regarding the dengue vaccine

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Dengue vaccine.
A Manila Health officer shows off a pair of vials of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia after being recalled from local government health centers Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in "a much safer way," meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease. VOA

The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in “a much safer way,” meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease.

In November, the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, said people who had never been sickened by dengue before were at risk of developing a more serious disease after getting the shot.

After a two-day meeting this week, WHO’s independent vaccines group said it now had proof the vaccine should only be used “exclusively or almost exclusively in people who have already been infected with dengue.”

Also Read: Anti-dengue Antibody Drug May Neutralize Zika Virus

The U.N. health agency said a test should be developed so doctors would be able to quickly tell if people had previously been sickened by dengue – but the group acknowledged doing that so isn’t straightforward.

“We see significant obstacles in using the vaccine this way, but we are confident this also spurs the development of a rapid diagnostic test,” said Dr. Joachim Hombach, executive secretary of WHO’s expert group, during a news conference Thursday.

Representational image for dengue vaccination
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Sanofi said last year that doctors should consider whether people might have been previously infected with dengue before deciding whether they should risk getting immunized. The company said it expected to take a 100 million euro ($118 million) loss based on that news.

People who catch dengue more than once can be at risk of a hemorrhagic version of the disease. The mosquito-spread virus is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates across Latin and South America, Asia, Africa and elsewhere. It causes a flu-like disease that can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. In severe cases, dengue can result in breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.

About half the world’s population is at risk of dengue; WHO estimates that about 96 million people are sickened by the viral infection every year.

Also Read: Dengue fever may increase risk of stroke: Study

Following Sanofi’s announcement last year, the Philippines halted its dengue immunization program, the world’s first national vaccination program for dengue. The government also demanded a refund of more than 3 billion pesos ($59 million) from Sanofi and is considering further legal action.

In February, the Philippines said the vaccine was potentially linked to the deaths of three people: all of them died of dengue despite having received the vaccine.

The country imposed a symbolic fine of $2,000 on Sanofi and suspended the vaccine’s approval, charging that the drugmaker broke rules on how the shot was registered and marketed.

More than 730,000 children aged 9 and above in the Philippines have received at least one dose of the dengue vaccine, usually delivered in three doses.

There is no specific treatment for dengue and there are no other licensed vaccines on the market.  VOA

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