- por Dr. Pratit Samdani

Underestimating the burden of dengue in India

Doing my rounds as an internist, I visit five or six hospitals a day. And in peak season, I see several cases of dengue every day. I can see that it’s a major public health problem. But to the rest of the world? Well, I think we haven’t got the numbers right yet. If we’re going to really tackle dengue in India, we need to calculate the scale of the problem. Research in India from 2012 shows that we’re not doing that. In fact, it suggests that we’re actually underestimating the number of cases in the country. Burden of dengue in India India suffered from a severe dengue outbreak in 2012. And while we haven’t got official numbers for 2013 yet, my experiences as a doctor suggest that the instances of dengue will be as bad as in 2012, if not worse. I’m not the only one who thinks this. By mid-September 2013, doctors in New Delhi had reported well over a thousand cases of dengue, according to this report in the New York Times. If this figure is representative, then dengue infections could be in the millions across the country. That’s far below official figures. There’s every indication that we’re massively underestimating the scope of dengue in India. As doctors, we’re obliged to report every case we see. But what happens if we’re dealing with so many infections that we start to lose count? If we’re going to break dengue in India, we have to get the numbers right. It’ll probably be alarming to uncover the true extent of the number of infections, but we really need to know what we’re up against if we’re going to combat the disease.