There's a huge difference between two different sets of data compiled by the municipal corporations in New Delhi pertaining to dengue-related fatalities in the national capital between 2010 and 2014.
While a civic report on vector-borne diseases said there were 29 confirmed dengue deaths during this period, as per death registration figures, over 1,200 people fell prey to the deadly virus.
Even in the current year, while South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has pegged the dengue casualty count at 25 till last month, reports in the national capital suggest that the figure has inched closer to 40. SDMC compiles the report on the vector-borne diseases in the city on behalf of all civic bodies, which includes dengue, malaria and chikungunya.
According to a recent report by SDMC, eight people succumbed to dengue in 2010, which saw over 6,200 cases. The year 2011, too, saw eight fatalities while 2012 and 2013 saw four and six dengue deaths, respectively. Three deaths were officially recorded last year, making it 29 casualties in the five-year period under review.
However, if one were to look at municipal death certificates issued by the three corporations -- North, East and South -- in their respective areas, the dengue casualty figure was at a staggering 1,221. The death registration data compiled by the civic bodies and released by Delhi government lists the cause of death and the number of people who died due to various diseases as recorded by the municipal corporations.
According to these figures, 411 people died due to dengue in 2010 while 413 dengue deaths were reported in 2013. The year 2012 saw 219 dengue fatalities while 104 died of dengue in 2011. Seventy-four succumbed to the deadly disease last year, taking the toll in the said period to over 1,220.
While 2010 had seen the worst dengue outbreak for these five years, the current year has already overtaken it on that count as nearly 6,500 cases have been reported till October 1, 2015.
Discrepancy is also there in malaria-related cases, but this vector-borne disease hardly gets the attention which dengue cases receive. Death certificates are issued by corporations based on medical certificates given by a doctor. Civic officials themselves are, however, not able to explain this yawning gap between the two sets of municipal data.
A senior SDMC official said, "For death count, municipal corporations rely on data provided by 37 notified hospitals in Delhi, which conduct ELISA test for confirmation of dengue. As per the rules, a medical certificate has to be submitted to get a death certificate issued. We do not check where that medical report is coming from."
Among the eight victims whose deaths were notified by the SDMC between September 23 and 26, the youngest to fall prey to the deadly disease was seven-month-old Peeru of Rohini area, while the oldest victim has been identified as a 70-year-old woman, Munia, of Sant Nagar area.
"Of the total 6,486 cases this year, north Delhi recorded the highest at 1,817 while east Delhi posted the lowest with 824 cases. South Delhi has seen 1,766 cases. Also, 828 cases were reported from other states. Among the civic zones in the city, Najafgarh Zone of South Delhi Municipal Corporation has recorded the highest number with 611 cases," said a senior official of SDMC.