After dengue and chikungunya outbreak, malaria is now emerging as a major health threat in the national capital, as the death toll from this vector-borne disease has risen to six.
According to a senior municipal health official the malaria deaths were reported at various hospitals in from July to September.
“Out of the six cases, two of the victims were from Delhi, three hailed from Uttar Pradesh and one from Haryana,” the official said today.
Incidentally, the deaths come at a time when the neighbouring country Sri Lanka has been declared malaria-free by the World Health Organisation.
The national capital is thus under threat now from all three vector-borne diseases.
Two deaths due to malaria had been earlier reported in Delhi this season while the number of cases of this vector-borne disease in the national capital has risen to 22 till September 17.
Praveen Sharma, 30, a resident of Mandawali, died at Safdarjung Hospital after suffering multi-organ failure triggered by malarial complications earlier this month.
A 62-year-old man from Jyoti Nagar had also died of malarial complications at AIIMS in July.
Municipal Health Officer of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Dr B K Hazarika said, “Four of the six deaths took places at AIIMS, one at Safdrajung Hospital and one at DDU Hospital.”
The civic bodies have, however, claimed that “these deaths were suspected malaria deaths and confirmation is yet awaited.”
Sri Lanka is the second country in the WHO South-East Asia Region to eliminate malaria after Maldives.
The WHO made the declaration that the island nation was “malaria-free” on September 5 and called it a “remarkable public health achievement” by the island nation.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
According to WHO, about 3.2 billion people nearly half of the world’s population are at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 214 million malaria cases and an estimated 4,38,000 malaria deaths globally.
In India too malaria is a major public health concern. Over 560 people died due to the disease in 2014, 440 in 2013 and 519 in 2012, according to NVBDCP.
Meanwhile, at least 34 people have died due to chikungunya and dengue which have affected close to 4,000 people in the national capital.