Dengue viral infection is one of the most important public health problems in tropical countries. An outbreak of dengue fever was investigated in a peri-urban slum area of Chandigarh, India during September to December, 2002. Blood samples from 218 patients and 30 apparently health contacts were tested for dengue-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies including 80 acute samples collected within 5 days of illness were subjected for virus isolation in newborn mice. The average temperature, rainfall, and humidity of the epidemic year were compared with the number of dengue cases. Chandigarh is one of the well-planned and cleaner cities in India. However, in recent years, increases in population density and construction activities as a part of urbanisation have led to the sprouting of slums in the periphery of Chandigarh. These peri-urban slum areas are usually over crowded and poorly maintained. With the onset of rain there occurs a spurt in the mosquito population owing to the availability of many favourable conditions for mosquito breeding such as discarded tyres, tins and poorly maintained desert coolers. Most of the houses in the affected locality had indoor “money Plant grown in open, discarded bottles filled with water, which served as an excellent breeding site for A.aegypti. The present study indicates the need for a continuous, sero-epidemiological, and entomological surveillance in Chandigarh, including its peri-urban slums for timely implementation of an effective control program to prevent such outbreaks in future.
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