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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fell Fever Kills 160 In India

NEW DELHI, India -- As the death toll from a dengue fever outbreak rose to at least 160, a court ordered authorities to work harder to eradicate the mosquito that carries the disease.

About 3,000 people have come down with the fever in the last two months. Many others are being treated at private hospitals.

For several days, the government has urged New Delhi's 10 million residents to drain water from air coolers, flower vases and to clear stagnant pools where mosquitoes breed. It also advised them to wear clothes that cover arms and legs.

Worried by media reports, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the local government to seek the help of all agencies to control the disease. A court hearing on the outbreak will continue Wednesday.

Local officials have asked the army to give them six trucks to carry insecticide spraying equipment, The Times of India said.

Poor sanitation, ineffective mosquito control and urban decay contributed to the spread of the disease this year, said V. Ramalingaswami, a former chief of the Indian Council of Medical Research, the government's medical advisory body.

Federal health authorities have urged the state government to declare the outbreak an epidemic and mobilize all agencies -- something the local government has resisted because it would mean admission of lapses in sanitation.

"This is indeed serious and we are doing what we can, but this is not an epidemic yet,'' Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the state health minister, said in an interview.

In frequent advertisements over radio, television and in newspapers, the state government urged people to prevent stagnation of water, cover their bodies and go to hospitals if they had a high fever, rash or nose bleeds.

In severe cases, dengue fever causes shock and internal bleeding. It can be fatal if not treated early.