Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Tuesday said that 18,328 persons in the state had been affected by dengue since January while dismissing allegations that the administration was pressuring private clinics and government hospitals to suppress or distort facts.

State chief secretary Malay Kumar De said the death toll due to dengue this year was 34, compared with 40 last year.

Fewer people have been affected by the mosquito-borne virus this year than last year, so people should not panic, he added.