State Wants Every Fever Patient Tested For Disease
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03 August 2010
By Sanjeev Shivadekar & Pratibha Masand
Sting Op Govt Wakes Up To Dangers Of The Virulent Malaria Parasite
The malaria fear seems to be reaching illogical proportions, with the state government now ordering a malaria test for every patient with fever. Some doctors, though, remain wary and say that such a recommendation will only result in a flood of samples at pathology laboratories.
Stating that a delay in getting some critical patients to hospital had resulted in deaths, state public health minister Suresh Shetty told TOI, "We have now issued an advisory to doctors to avoid any delay in treatment." Last week, the state had asked private hospitals located in the seven high–risk malaria locations to operate evening OPDs. The practice for doctors is to observe fever patients for a couple of days before starting malaria treatment.
"It is only after diagnosing malaria that a doctor advises the patient to change the treatment,"' said Shetty, adding that it is to avoid "this delay that the new advisory has been issued."
Doctors have shown mixed reactions to the ‘test for malaria first’ approach. Dr Hemant Thacker who consults at Breach Candy and Bhatia hospitals, for example, said, "WHO guidelines state that if we suspect a patient of malaria, we need to send the blood sample immediately and start treatment without waiting for reports. The importance is laid on the clinical suspicion index."
On the other hand, Dr Hozie Kapadia, secretary of Indian Medical Association in the state, says it would be a good idea. "Seeing the rise in the number of deaths due to malaria, this seems to be a good idea." WhileDr Sunil Dalvi from Lilavati Hospital said, "Malaria has changed its presentation completely. Some malaria patients might not even have fever. So the doctors should send the blood samples of patients they suspect."
The Monsoon Toll
Another death due to malaria was recorded on Sunday. A 52–year–old Bhandup resident succumbed to the disease. According to the BMC, the man was an alcoholic and could not be saved as he was brought to the hospital late in the day.
Meanwhile, a total of 271 Mumbaikars suffering from fever were admitted to various hospitals on Monday, of these 148 suffered from malaria,58 from gastroenteritis, four from leptospirosis and one from dengue.
A total of 10 people tested positive for swine flu on Monday, out of which, three were young children and a total of four had to be hospitalised.