Doctors warn of dengue fever outbreak in Indian state of Kerala as 86 killed in last month

Kerala’s Health Minister, KK Shylaja, calls the outbreak 'unprecedented' 

Mireia Molina Costa
Wednesday 26 July 2017 11:51 BST
Picture: (Getty Images)

Doctors in the Indian state of Kerala have warned about a "significant" outbreak of the Dengue virus which led to deaths of 86 people in the last month.

At least 14,600 people have been infected in the same period, according to the public health officials in the state, which is popular with British tourists and travellers.

As a result some patients have been forced to lie in hospital corridors as they await treatment for the mosquito-borne viral infection which causes a severe flu-like illness according to NHS direct.

It said infections are mostly mild and pass in about a week without causing severe problems.

However, it can become life threatening and develop into severe dengue, including symptoms of severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting (including blood), breathing difficulties and drowsiness.

The Foreign office has not issued any advice to British travellers heading to the popular tourist destination.

However it has warned visitors about a dengue outbreak in neighbouring of Sri Lanka, which has had up to 300 registered deaths and over 80.700 cases of the infection this year, a rise of more than 25,000 on the 54,945 cases recorded in 2016.

Kerala’s Health Minister, KK Shylaja, called the outbreak “unprecedented” and blamed an early arrival of rainfall for the rapid outbreak.

However, Ramesh Chennithala, the leader of the opposition in the state’s National Assembly said outbreak was due to the ‘total failure’ of the health department to carry out a proper sanitation programme preceding the monsoon rains, according to the FirstPost website.

The state’s health department nonetheless initiated a programme last month to guarantee a special training for doctors in the hope of reducing diagnosis mistakes.

Focusing on early identification and treatment, it aimed to reduce the number of deaths caused by the disease.

Kerala’s Directorate of Health Services, confirmed cases of dengue fever have reached 13,229 in Kerala in 2017, with 47,712 suspected infected patients.

While 23 deaths have been confirmed it is suspected the real number could surpass 160.

Public figures are not representative and number of cases could be significantly higher, as over 65 per cent of the population uses private medical healthcare, according to The Hindu.

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