The ICMR's 40 laboratories across India reportedly test up to 1,000 blood samples a month. Since January, 12 per cent of samples have tested positive for dengue, which is an increase of five per cent compared to last year. Since July, 10 per cent of the samples have tested positive for the chikungunya virus.
"There has definitely been an upsurge of dengue and chikungunya cases across the country this year," confirmed Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director-general of the ICMR.
According to the health ministry, across India, 70 people have died as a result of dengue and more than 36,000 people have been affected by it since January, while 14,650 cases of chikungunya have been detected so far this year. Karnataka is the worst affected area with 9,427 cases.
Malaria also persists, with India having recorded more than 800,000 cases and 119 deaths from the disease so far this year.
According to experts, climate change and rapid urbanisation are contributing to outbreaks and mosquito-borne viruses are mutating and developing resistance to drugs. "Rainfall has become unpredictable,” said Dr Swaminathan. “Mosquitoes have adapted to urban environments. There is construction activity happening round the year, leading to accumulation of water in which mosquitoes breed easily."