Indian team official confirmed with dengue fever on day Commonwealth Games open in New Delhi

By Rizwan Ali, AP
Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hospital: Indian team official has dengue fever

NEW DELHI — An official with India’s lawn bowls squad has contracted dengue fever, the first person affiliated with the Commonwealth Games to be afflicted with the mosquito-borne disease.

Dr. Rajiv Saigol of the GB Pant hospital in New Delhi confirmed hours before Sunday’s Commonwealth Games opening ceremony that team official Ruptu Gogoi has the virus, but his condition was stable.

“He is eating well. He is sleeping well. He is talking well,” Saigol told The Associated Press. “He has some fever which is quite natural because he has had the problem for four to five days.”

Dr. V.K. Monga, the Municipal Corporation’s health committee chief, said Gogoi had a slight fever on Sept. 24, a day after he moved into the athletes’ village.

“Four days later he underwent some tests at the Polyclinic Hospital which were quite normal and there was no symptoms of dengue fever in his tests,” Monga said. “However, on Sept. 29 he vomited, after which he was referred to GB Pant hospital.”

Monga said he hoped Gogoi would be discharged on Monday.

About 3,500 cases of dengue fever have been reported in New Delhi this year, and seven of those infected have died, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Saigol said Gogoi would not miss out on seeing the opening ceremony. “We are arranging a television set for him in the hospital because he wants to see Indian athletes marching.”

The Commonwealth Games Federation and the Indian team said they were not aware of Gogoi’s condition.

Dengue fever, a painful illness that can be life-threatening, is spread through mosquito bites. The virus cannot be spread directly from person to person.

It has become an issue in the Indian capital this year because of the extended monsoon season, which increased the amount of stagnant water around the city.

Three weeks ago, health officials played down the threat from the disease. The severity of the outbreak was blamed on the games, which led to delays in the completion of many construction projects across the city and contributed to some flooding that created breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Athletes from Australia and New Zealand had expressed concerns about attending the games amid the dengue outbreak and security issues.

The government launched an all-out effort to wipe out the female Aedes mosquitoes that transmit dengue. Thousands of municipal workers were spraying the worst-affected areas with anti-mosquito spray, and larvae-eating fish have been released in waterways.

Athletes and officials have this week praised conditions in the athletes’ village after it underwent an intense cleanup. Spraying has continued at games venues.

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