Dengue in India
Dengue virus belongs to family Flaviviridae, having four serotypes that spread by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. It causes a wide spectrum of illness from mild asymptomatic illness to severe fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS). Approximately 2.5 billion people live in dengue-risk regions with about 100 million new cases each year worldwide. The cumulative dengue diseases burden has attained an unprecedented proportion in recent times with sharp increase in the size of human population at risk. Dengue disease presents highly complex pathophysiological, economic and ecologic problems. In India, the first epidemic of clinical dengue-like illness was recorded in Madras (now Chennai) in 1780 and the first virologically proved epidemic of dengue fever (DF) occurred in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Eastern Coast of India in 1963-1964. During the last 50 years a large number of physicians have treated and described dengue disease in India, but the scientific studies addressing various problems of dengue disease have been carried out at limited number of centres. Achievements of Indian scientists are considerable; however, a lot remain to be achieved for creating an impact. This paper briefly reviews the extent of work done by various groups of scientists in this country.