MOSCOW, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – The annual number of dengue fever cases in India is 300 times higher than the official figures, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
"We found that India had nearly 6m annual clinically diagnosed dengue cases between 2006 and 2012 – almost 300 times greater than the number of cases that had been officially reported," Donald Shepard, health economics professor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts said as quoted by The Guardian.
According to Shepard, the low official reporting could be due to the fact that many Indians infected with dengue were treated in private hospitals, which rarely report cases of dengue to the authorities.
"In India the reporting is based on lab confirmed cases; many other places use suspect cases," Shepard, who led a five-year research project into dengue, noted.
The research was funded by Sanofi-Pasteur, a major pharmaceutical company developing a vaccine against dengue, and approved by the Indian government. It is to be published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.
Dengue fever, which often spreads in tropical and subtropical areas in Asia, Latin America and Africa, is transmitted by tiger and dengue mosquitoes. The disease cannot be transmitted directly from person to person.
Dengue symptoms usually include fever, headaches, vomiting and muscle pain. Sometimes, the disease can lead to a fatal outcome. Currently, no drugs or vaccines exist to combat dengue fever.
Fifty to 100 million people living in tropical or subtropical areas become infected with dengue each year.