MUMBAI: The municipal corporation insists there were only 12 dengue deaths in 2013, but a research paper from its own premier hospital—KEM Hospital, Parel—shows that 22 dengue deaths occurred in the hospital alone in that year.
The public health department was last week criticized by corporators in the civic standing committee meeting for lack of transparency in reporting dengue cases and deaths.
In 2014, the BMC insists that there have been around 700 dengue positive cases and 12 deaths so far.
The corporators' allegation rings true when one considers the data mentioned in the research paper, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease's September 2014 edition. The study says 420 dengue patients were treated in KEM between January 1 and December 31, 2013, of which 22 died and every third patient was in the 21-30 age group.
But Dr Mangala Gomare of BMC's epidemiology cell said she has not heard about the study and would not be able to comment on it. "The number of deaths could be higher because super specialty hospitals, like KEM, get many patients from outside the city and we don't include them in Mumbai's statistics," she added.
The study was done by doctors of KEM Hospital's preventive social medicine department (PSM) as a debriefing session of sorts—recording the type of treatment given to patients, its outcome and any possible gap in treatment. PSM departments provide inputs that help local governments draw up ways to combat diseases at the community level.
The KEM study provides an overview of the disease's patterns: maximum deaths occurred in September and October 2013 at six each. "There was no treatment gap found in cases of deaths, but 36% of the patients who had died received antimalarial treatment even after being diagnosed with dengue. This may indicate that antimalarial treatment in these 34% patients leads to resistance for the treatment," concluded the study.
Dr Ranendra Shinde, who is one of the co-authors of the study and head of KEM Hospital's PSM department, said, "The study's significance is that it proves that dengue has become the most common vector-borne disease in Mumbai at the moment. In 2012, we had more cases of malaria than dengue. In 2013, both the mosquito-borne infections were equal but, in 2014, it is obvious that dengue is more common."
Such analysis help in noting that any case of fever in Mumbai should first be tested for dengue, especially in September and October. Asked about the disparity between his department's study and public health department's statistics, Dr Shinde said this may be due to lack of uniformity in writing death certificates