A dengue has killed at least 21 people in Kerala in the past three weeks, a government official said.
There was a shortage of medicines and health workers to tackle the crisis he added.
The mosquito-borne dengue virus has infected more than 11,000 people in Kerala since May , forcing the state to buy new hospital beds and cancel medical staff leave.
Dengue cases – found in the world’s tropical and subtropical regions – have increased 30-fold over the past 50 years, according to the WHO.
Sarita said more than 40,000 people were suffering from high fever in Kerela and that the government was planning to set up emergency medical camps in schools and temples.
Expert say stagnant water left behind after rains was contributing to the spread of dengue.
Authorities said they were trying to prevent breeding of mosquitoes by insecticide fogging, a common sight in cities including New Delhi notorious for open garbage dumps.
“Patients are lying in (hospital) corridors and availing treatment. The situation looks really bad,” said a health professional at a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.