Dengue fever hits athletes village

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NEW DELHI, October 3- The Commonwealth Games in New Delhi was hit by its first case of dengue fever on Sunday, health officials said, just hours before the troubled event's opening ceremony.Indian lawn bowls manager Ruptu Gogoi fell ill at the athletes village and was taken to the G.B. Pant hospital on Friday, senior hospital doctor Rajiv Sagar told AFP.

"He is stable and will be released shortly," Sagar said. "He probably caught dengue before entering the village as he was already feeling some symptoms when he arrived there."

The risk of athletes catching dengue fever was one of many concerns ahead of the Games, which endured a shambolic run-up involving the unfinished athletes’ village, dangerous facilities and the threat of militant attack.

Seven Delhi residents have died of dengue fever this year in the worst outbreak for four years. More than 3,450 cases have been confirmed in the city, though many experts believe the real figure is far higher.

Health officials have blamed stagnant water at Games’ venues and a heavy monsoon for the number of cases.

The mosquito-borne disease causes a flu-like illness for most victims. One strain of it can cause internal bleeding.

More than 420 people were killed and 10,250 hospitalised in the city’s biggest dengue outbreak in 1996, according to government data.

Municipal workers have been spraying anti-mosquito repellent through Delhi in recent weeks to control the outbreak, while larvae-eating fish were also released in a pond at the athletes’ village.

India has issued a health advisory for participants and visitors at the Games asking them wear full-sleeve clothes when possible and to use mosquito repellent creams and coils.

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