Dengue fever alert2nd October 2006
An outbreak of dengue fever in India's capital, Delhi, has led to a concerted drive by Indian health officials to try and contain the disease.
Yoganand Shastri, the health minister, has said they will be forced to declare an epidemic unless the outbreak is not contained within the next 24 hours. Thousands of people have been involved in spraying pesticides as part of a door-to-door campaign, as there is no preventive vaccine for the disease.
Dengue fever, which is a mosquito-borne disease, can lead to high fever, and even to brain haemorrhage. The authorities are particularly looking for sources of stagnant water, which are breeding grounds for the mosquitoes.
Eleven people have died in the last two weeks, with more than 400 people affected in and around the capital. The country's leading public hospital, Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences, has been particularly affected; more than 30 people including 18 medical staff have contracted the disease, and one doctor has died.
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