Dengue fever fear for Delhi Games

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Dengue fever fear for Delhi Games

By Jane Cowan in New Delhi
Updated September 7, 2010 10:37:00
Preperations for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games have been hampered by fears of an outbreak of dengue fever. (AFP: Manan Vatsyayana)

There are fears an outbreak of dengue fever in New Delhi is getting worse with just a month to go until the Commonwealth Games.

Exacerbated by waterlogged construction sites and striking fumigators, dozens of new cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported in the last few days.
Further bad news predicts monsoon rains are likely to linger, possibly into October, when the Games begin.

Unpleasant blasts of fogging machines are being used to keep mosquitoes at bay, but the mass fumigation has not been enough.

The medical superintendent of one of Delhi's largest public hospitals, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr DK Sharma, says dengue cases have been on the rise since July.

"The number of dengue patients coming to the Institute this year, as a matter of fact in the whole of Delhi, is much more than last year," he said.
He says more than 1,300 cases of dengue fever have now been reported, and three people have died.

The hospital is overloaded with patients, with those who have been turned away camping on the ground outside.

"Once there is a surge in the number of dengue patients and we have to admit some of these, naturally some other patients who would normally have got admitted have to be deferred," Dr Sharma said.

Dr Sharma says the dengue season does not peak until September or October, and this is likely to only be the start of the problem.

"If we are able to control the water stagnation, if we are able to control the larval breeding, and kill adult mosquitoes, well I'm very hopeful on that score," he said.
"Our civic agencies are working very hard to control this menace."

However, as billboards warn the public how to prevent mosquitoes breeding, directly across the road from the hospital, bulldozers sit beside pools of stagnant water.

India Meteorological Department forecaster Brahma Prakash Yadav says there has already been double the usual August rains, but he cannot predict when the monsoon will pass.

"This is a meteorological factor. Nobody can help it," he said.
Or almost nobody. Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dik**** says the weather and the Games preparations are now in the hands of the rain god.
Another good reason for Canada to avoid these games. India is simply not ready to put on a show at this modest level. Why Canadian athletes would want to risk their health there for an unimportant medal is hard to fathom.

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