Crisis-plagued Commonwealth Games get hit again

The Associated Press
Sunday, October 3, 2010; 12:01 PM

NEW DELHI -- The crisis-plagued Commonwealth Games took another hit Sunday only hours before they were declared open when an Indian team official who had been living at the athletes' village was diagnosed with dengue fever.

Ruptu Gogoi, a 30-year-old official with the lawn bowls team, was admitted to the GB Pant hospital in New Delhi on Saturday night and was said to have the disease Sunday. He is the first person affiliated with the games to contract the illness.

"I can confirm he has dengue fever, but his condition is now stable," hospital spokesman Dr. Rajiv Saigol told The Associated Press, adding that Gogoi could be discharged Monday evening.

Dengue fever, a painful illness that can be life-threatening, is a viral disease that spreads through mosquito bites. It has become an issue in the Indian capital this year because of the extended monsoon season, which increased the amount of stagnant water around the city.

The athletes' village, which some described as uninhabitable late last month, was said to have pools of water nearby as workers struggled to get things finished on time. The unhygienic conditions at the village even prompted several teams to delay their departures to India until things improved.

It was not immediately clear if Gogoi contracted the disease at the village or before moving in.

About 3,500 cases of dengue fever have been reported in New Delhi this year, and seven of the afflicted have died, the Press Trust of India reported.

Despite the latest setback, the opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium went ahead without trouble as thousands of dancers and musicians entertained the crowd and the teams paraded in.

Prince Charles spoke on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who did not make the trip to India for the games. He read a message from the British monarch and declared the games open.

Indian President Pratibha Patil then spoke and finished by saying, "Let the games begin."

Outside the stadium, the usually packed streets of the city were mostly deserted after the government ordered businesses and markets to close down for the day - all part the organizing committee's security plan.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, speaking to India's Times Now news channel, said the tight security in New Delhi was tough but fair. About 100,000 police and military personnel have been deployed in the Indian capital for the games.

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