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56 Confirmed Deaths Due to Heat Stroke Recorded in India in last 3 months: Health Ministry

India has recorded 56 deaths from 24,849 suspected cases of heat stroke between March and May, according to data released by the Union Health Ministry. The majority of these deaths, 46, occurred in May alone, highlighting the severity of the heatwave conditions gripping the nation.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) compiled the data, revealing that 19,189 suspected heat stroke cases were reported between May 1 and May 30. However, the figures do not include data from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Delhi, suggesting that the actual numbers could be higher. An official source indicated that these states are yet to submit their complete reports.

On a single day last Friday, India reported at least 40 suspected heat-related deaths. Among these, 25 were election staff members on duty in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, demonstrating the widespread impact of the heatwave on both the general population and specific groups engaged in outdoor activities.

Heat-related fatalities were also reported from several states on Thursday. Odisha accounted for 10 deaths, Bihar 8, Jharkhand 4, and Uttar Pradesh 1. Rajasthan has reported at least five deaths due to the extreme heat so far. These incidents underscore the urgent need for measures to protect vulnerable populations during extreme weather conditions.

Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have reported significant numbers of confirmed heat-related deaths over the last three months. Madhya Pradesh recorded 14 deaths, while Maharashtra reported 11, according to health ministry data. The heatwave has clearly had a severe impact across multiple states.

An official source from the health ministry noted that some states are experiencing difficulties with data entry, meaning that the current figures may not represent the final toll. Consequently, the final numbers are expected to be higher once all data is submitted and verified.

The NCDC’s guidelines on certifying heat-related deaths stress the importance of measuring antemortem body temperature at the time of collapse, which should be at least 40.6 degrees Celsius to diagnose heat stroke or hyperthermia. These guidelines aim to standardize the reporting and certification of heat-related fatalities across the country.

In instances where the antemortem body temperature cannot be established, the NCDC recommends considering the environmental temperature at the time of collapse and the clinical history of the patient. This approach ensures that heat-related deaths are accurately identified, allowing for better tracking and response to the health impacts of extreme heat conditions.

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