Denying allegations that it was “suppressing or tampering with” the number of dengue cases and deaths, the West Bengal government on Tuesday said the disease has claimed 34 lives while infecting over 18,000 persons this year in the state.

Chief secretary Malay Kumar De also urged the health centres and medical facilities in the state to report if the disease was identified after scientific tests.

“On behalf of the state government, we want to clearly say that no information about dengue is being suppressed or tampered with. There is no question of doing such things. Whatever details we are getting, we are transparently giving it out on a regular basis,” De told reporters at state secretariat Nabanna.

“Vector borne diseases like dengue are notifiable diseases. Therefore, if such cases are confirmed by the health professionals after following the standard medical protocol, it has to be reported.

“If cases of dengue are found in any heath centre or hospital, the legal process is to report the same to the state health department,” he said.

He said there have been 34 deaths due to dengue, while 18,238 people have been found infected by the disease in the state this year.

On allegations by the opposition parties that the state government is not giving out the real data about the number of dengue patients here, he alleged that some health centres in the state are conducting tests in an unscientific way which cannot be accepted by the state government.

“Some people are saying that the details are being suppressed but it is not correct. Many diagnostic centres are conducting rapid tests to identify the disease which is not acceptable. If the tests are done in a non scientific way it is not possible for us to record that,” he clarified.

The opposition CPI-M, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have been protesting against the state government’s alleged attempts to downplay the number of fatalities and infected persons due to the mosquito-borne disease.

A section of pathological laboratories, private hospitals and medical practitioners, though reluctant to come out in the open, have also been complaining in private about pressure being mounted on them to suppress the number of dengue infections or deaths related to the disease.

Dey said the state government has already alerted the municipalities, who are working to their full capacity to stop the spread of dengue.

Asserting that there is no abnormality in the number of dengue cases in West Bengal this year, the official said no unnecessary panic should be created.

“There is no abnormality in the number of dengue cases in the state. Till this time last year, there were 20,140 dengue cases in Bengal while 40 deaths due to the disease were reported,” he said.

“We want to request that there should not be any unnecessary panic about this,” he added.