In Bihar, many think dengue is a divine curse


Patna: Praying in temples and mosques, many in Bihar are hoping for divine intervention to check the spread of dengue, as eight people have died of the disease and nearly 600 have been admitted to hospitals in the last two weeks.

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In Munger and Begusarai districts, which are the worst hit, many have come to believe that dengue is a curse from the gods. In Munger, the mosquito-borne disease claimed six lives and in Begusarai, two.

“The district administration, particularly health officials and the municipal body, has failed to check the spread of dengue,” said Manish Singh, the relative of a dengue patient in Munger who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Patna.

“We are turning to god because dengue seems to be a divine curse,” said Nawal Prasad, a businessman in Munger town, about 150 km from here.

Prasad along with dozens of neighbours organised a special puja at a Hanuman temple and conducted rituals at different shrines.

Khurshid Alam, a school teacher, said: “We were pushed to the wall after the district administration failed to come to our rescue. We are praying for divine intervention.” Alam said Muslims were offering prayers in mosques in Munger.

Similarly, in Begusarai, a two-day mahayagna or fire ritual was conducted.

“We have attended special prayers to get rid of dengue – the divine curse,” said Manju Sharma, a housewife in Begusarai town.

Saurav Kumar, a resident of Begusarai, which reported the first dengue death in Bihar three weeks ago, said people in urban as well as rural pockets were frightened.

“There is a strong fear that dengue kills people, it is giving people sleepless nights,” Kumar said.

Health officials in Munger and Begusarai said they were helpless due to the unavailability of kits for giving blood platelets to patients.

“It is a difficult task for us to provide specialised treatment to people. We refer them to Patna in case of critical condition,” Munger civil surgeon Mukesh Kumar said.

Patna has seen anti-mosquito fogging only in a few pockets.