Over 18,700 cases of dengue have been reported from across the country till July this year, with the maximum number of them coming from Kerala, PTI reported on Tuesday. Figures released by the Kerala Health Department said there were 9,606 cases of dengue with 17 deaths in the state till July 4.

The Union Health Ministry has attributed the early arrival of monsoon as one of the reasons for the high number of dengue cases. “We had already sent a team there and it has come back after assessing the situation,” said Health Secretary CK Mishra. “But, no request has come from Kerala side on this matter. The state has a robust health mechanism though.”

After Kerala, Tamil Nadu assumed the second spot with 4,174 dengue cases reported so far this year, according to data released by the ministry. Till July 2, Karnataka reported 1,945 cases, Gujarat 616, Andhra Pradesh 606 and West Bengal 469.

Delhi, on the other hand, has reported nearly 100 cases of dengue till July 1. Besides, the national Capital has recorded at least 125 cases of malaria and 152 cases of chikungunya. On May 16, the Delhi High Court hasd pulled up the government and municipal corporations as well as the Centre for holding meetings instead of implementing preventive measures against vector-borne diseases. “Mosquitoes don’t wait for meetings,” the bench had said.

Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Tuesday held a review meet on to discuss the preparedness for the vector-borne disease. It was attended by Health Secretary Mishra, Director General of ICMR Soumya Swaminathan, senior officials of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme and other institutions.

“We held two reviews, one for Delhi and the other for rest of the states and union territories,” Nadda said. “And, I can say that we are satisfied with our preparedness. We have already held three video-conferences on this matter and issued 13 advisories. The secretary [health] will soon hold video conferences with other states.”

Meanwhile, a research paper by All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Indian Council of Medical Research stated that the annual number of dengue fever cases in India is much higher than the official figure. “Evidently the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme captures only 0.35% of the clinically diagnosed dengue cases in India,” the research paper published in Journal of Infection and Public Health said. “This under reporting would play a major role in the government’s decision-making.”