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Dengue fever hits Indian team as Commonwealth Games open with fanfare

From Sara Sidner and Harmeet Shah Singh
  • Doctors think Gogoi may have contracted the disease outside the athletes' village
  • Dengue kills 25,000 people every year
  • The games open in a lavish ceremony

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- An official with the Indian lawn bowls team has been diagnosed with dengue fever but is in stable condition, doctors confirmed Monday.

Ruptu Gogoi was hospitalized on Friday, according to doctors, who suspect the 30-year-old male patient could have contracted the mosquito-borne viral disease from outside the Commonwealth Games athletes' village in New Delhi.

Gogoi had complained of feeling sick a day after he arrived at the athletes village last month, said Rajiv Sagar, a spokesman for the G.B. Pant Hospital in the city.

Doctors, therefore, think he may have acquired the mosquito-borne viral disease from outside the facility, Sagar said.

Dengue is the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes in the world. It causes as many as 100 million infections and kills 25,000 people every year. Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas, according to the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, after harsh criticism and controversy, the 2010 Commonwealth Games began Sunday with a lavish opening ceremony.

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium gleamed with multi-colored lights as representatives from Commonwealth countries walked the length of the field by turns, waving their flags and wearing traditional native costumes.

It's the first time India has hosted the international sporting event between countries of the former British Empire. The games, held every four years, include many Olympic events as well as other sports played traditionally in those countries.

Among the competitions is lawn bowling, where the object is to get more of one team's ball closer to a small white ball, or jack, than the opponent.

Britain's Prince Charles and Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil officially declared the games open. Prince Charles was representing his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

The games have been a tough act for a nation that has never hosted such a large international event.

Parliament has been forced to deal with accusations of corruption in the planning of the games.

Two weeks ago, gunmen fired on a tourist bus in New Delhi and injured two Taiwanese tourists. A car blaze turned out to be a crudely manufactured bomb. And a militant group warned that it planned to target the games.

Indian law enforcement authorities responded with a heightened security plan, placing thousands of extra forces on the streets of the capital.

If all that weren't enough, two days before athletes were scheduled to begin arriving, complaints rang out across the globe about their shoddy living quarters.

"You know, construction dust is still there, filth, excrement, it really is disgusting in parts and it really requires a professional deep clean throughout the entire complex," said Michael Hooper, chief executive officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

As if to amplify Hooper's complaint, a pedestrian bridge leading to Nehru stadium collapsed that same day.

Two world-class athletes canceled their trips, citing security and health concerns. Entire teams threatened to do the same, while others delayed their arrival date.

Indian officials went to work on a massive clean-up effort. In the end, athletes from 71 countries showed up.

CNN's Moni Basu contributed to this report.