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Killer heat wave: Over 1700 dead in two Telugu speaking states of India

New Delhi: People fill water from a water tanker to beat the heat on a scorching hot day in New Delhi on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Sunil Majumdar/IANS)

Hyderabad/New Delhi/Mumbai/Jaipur: The searing heat wave continued unabated on Thursday in many parts of India, claiming another 414 lives in Andhra and Telangana alone to take the toll above 1,700 while rains brought relief in some states, officials said.

Andhra Pradesh reported 313 more deaths due to sunstroke during last 24 hours while 100 more succumbed in Telangana.

With this the toll in the two Telugu states rose to 1,774. While Andhra Pradesh accounted for 1,334 deaths, 440 people died in Telangana, officials said.

Four deaths due to sunstroke were reported from West Bengal and one from Bihar, in addition to two from New Delhi on Wednesday. According to unofficial sources, two dozen people have died in Bihar.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that the heat wave conditions will continue at few places in Odisha, Vidarbha, Jharkhand and Telangana and at isolated places over Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and coastal Andhra Pradesh over next two days.

It has also forecast rain/thunder showers at most places in the northeast and at a few places in Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

No respite from the blistering heat was in sight in Andhra and Telangana as both states sizzled with the highest temperature of 47 degrees Celsius.

Khammam and Nizamabad in Telangana recorded 47 degree Celsius, as did Nandigama and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh.

According to the Meteorological Centre in Hyderabad, though rains brought the temperature down in some parts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, severe heat wave conditions continued in the state.

The heat wave paralysed life in Rajasthan, which continued to reel under heat wave conditions on Thursday, with the maximum temperature hovering between 40 and 45 degrees Celsius.

The temperatures in some places, including state capital Jaipur was higher by 3-4 degree celsius above the average. Jaipur was hot at 44.7 degrees Celsius, four degrees above average, while Bundi and Kota were sizzling at 45.5 degrees and 45.4 degrees Celsius.

“The heat wave is likely to prevail in some places in Rajasthan in the next 24 hours. Jaipur will see partly cloudy skies with the possibility of a dust storm. The maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 44 degrees and 28 degrees respectively in Jaipur in next 24 hours,” a weather department official told IANS.

The hills of Himachal Pradesh experienced warm weather, with Una town recording a high of 43.2 degrees Celsius.

“Temperatures soared due to the dry spell. Shimla recorded a maximum temperature of 28.5 degrees Celsius, four degrees above normal (average) for this time of the year,” a meteorological department official told IANS.

Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, recorded 32.6 degrees Celsius, five notches above average.

It was a hot and dry Thursday in the national capital, with the maximum temperature recorded at 41.1 degrees Celsius, a notch above average. The met office forecast similar conditions on Friday, with the sky likely to be clear through the day and the maximum and the minimum likely to hover around 41 degree and 27 degree Celsius.

Heat wave conditions continued in Bihar with the mercury touching 41.7 degree Celsius in Gaya district, the hottest place in the state and Patna recording 39 degree Celsius, met officials said in Patna.

“People will have to wait for a few more days to get any respite from the prevailing severe heatwave,” said met office director A.K. Sen.

Vayas ji, the principal secretary of the state disaster management department told IANS that heat wave has claimed one life so far. However, unofficial reports received from different parts of state said that at least two dozen people have died in the last one week due to the heat.

Uttar Pradesh also continued to reel under the intense heat with the met office promising no immediate relief from the scorcher.

The weather office in Lucknow said maximum temperatures across the state were expected to rise further during the next 24 hours to Friday evening.

“Bundelkhand region and parts of western UP will see as much as three degrees rise in day temperatures,” said meteorological department director J.P. Gupta

Slight relief was experienced from the heat wave conditions in certain parts of Maharashtra’s Vidarbha and Marathwada regions though high temperatures ruled the roost in most areas on Thursday.

Chandrapur recorded the highest temperature of 47 degrees Celsius and Nagpur was second at 46 degrees, though the state has no officially recorded heat-wave related casualties.

Wardha, Akola and Parbhani recorded 45 degrees – a degree higher than Wednesday -while Yavatmal stood at 44 degrees on Thursday.

Intermittent drizzle and strong winds overnight brought welcome relief to Bhopal and other places in Madhya Pradesh which had been reeling under blistering conditions.

The residents of Bengaluru experienced pleasant weather on Thursday, while other parts of Karnataka braved a heat wave – the mercury at 42.5 degrees Celsius in Kalaburgi, 41.5 degrees in Bijapur and 42.4 degrees in Raichur, officials said.


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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

Also Read: With Medicine Running Out, Venezuelans With Transplant Live in Fear

According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS