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4 dengue deaths in 3 days: New strain worries docs

With four deaths in three days, dengue is back with a vengeance in Kolkata and Salt Lake. Close on the heels of the deaths of two schoolchildren on July 31at the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, a 29-year-old Dum Dum resident died at the same hospital on Monday morning. On July 30, another 46-year-old from Dum Dum had succumbed to dengue at Apollo. 

Three of the four deaths resulted from `macrophage activation syndrome' or a hyperactivity of the immune system that affected the vital organs of the victims, triggering a quick death. The city has rarely seen this deadly a dengue strain, which has a mortality rate of 50%-60%, said experts.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has called a meeting to discuss the dengue situation at Nabanna on Tuesday . Higher education minister Partha Chatterjee also met district inspectors of schools and instructed all schools to take precautionary steps. The DIs were asked to carry out checks.

Both the young victims -eight-year-old Biboswan Guhathakurta of Salt Lake and five-year-old Purbita Hazra of Dum Dum -developed macrophage activation syndrome, doctors at the hospital said. 

Pampa Banerjee, who died on Monday, had the same condition."While internal haemorrhage or leakage of water from blood vessels are the classical dengue symptoms, this is anew strain that is turning the immune system hyperactive, throwing it out of gear. 

This leads to quick death," said Dr Shyamasis Banerjee, senior consultant at Apollo. Early on Monday, hundreds of alarmed parents gathe red outside Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan in Salt Lake, where both Biboswan and Purbita were students, and staged protests. They alleged the two children had contracted dengue in school. 

An inspection by the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation on Monday revealed around 500 mosquito larvae per square metre in the generator room. Under pressure, the authorities decided to shut down the school for a week.

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