Diphtheria: Five More Deaths at Civic Hospital in Delhi, Total 61 Fatalities in 2018

New Delhi: Five more deaths due to diphtheria have been reported at a civic hospital in north Delhi, taking the toll from the infectious disease in the city to 31 since September, officials said Wednesday.

Six of these victims belong to Delhi and the rest are from other states, they said.

The fresh deaths were reported at the Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital at Kingsway Camp, they said.

“From September 6 onwards, there have been over 223 admissions at the municipal hospital, out of whom 30 have died,” a senior official said.

One more death earlier was reported at the Delhi government-run LNJP Hospital.

North Delhi Mayor Adesh Gupta last week had suspended medical superintendent of the Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital for alleged lapses in connection with the deaths of these children at the facility.

The hospital, the largest such facility in Asia, is under the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Gupta had set up a panel a few days ago to look into the death cases and sought a report.

The panel has presented its report to the mayor.

Most of these 30 patients, who reported infection in September at the hospital, are children aged 1-9 years, and belong to western Uttar Pradesh.

Diptheria is a bacterial disease and its common symptoms include, sore throat, fever, cough, running nose, swelling in neck, fall in blood pressure and irregular pulse, doctors said.

“If the toxin reaches heart muscles or larynx or voice box or nervous system, the anti-diphtheria serum then proves ineffective,” said a senior doctor in the NDMC’s health department.

The issue caused a huge uproar in the NDMC House Wednesday as the opposition AAP and the Congress sought to corner the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over the issue.

According to information shared by the NDMC during its House proceedings Wednesday, a total of 61 deaths have taken place due to diphtheria this year.

The rest of the 30 deaths had taken place this year from January till September, a senior official said.

Last year, 102 deaths had taken due to diphtheria, 133 in 2,106 and 88 in 2015, according to the information shared by the NDMC authorities.

Half of the total fatalities this year have taken place in September, which is the highest for this month since 2015. The number of patients admitted in September this year stands at 223, also the highest since 2015.

The fatalities reported in previous years for September are — 22 (in 2015), 26 (2016), 20 (2017) and 30 (2018).

The number of admissions in September in the previous years at Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital, the nodal hospital for diphtheria treatment are — 88 (2015), 115 (2016), 99 (2017) and 223 (2018).

The total number of admissions this year till date is 424, the NDMC said.

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