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Times of India
17 September 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
Mumbai, India

Now, get dengue test results in just 48 hours
The diagnosis of dengue has become a lot easier now, with test results being available in 48 hours rather than the usual one week. Thanks to the advanced diagnostic tests, say civic officials. Dr Jayanthi Shastri, head of the PCR lab at Kasturba Hospital, said the real–time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) dengue test facilitates early diagnosis of the dreaded disease and can thereby help doctors extend the management of the disease accordingly.

Usually, doctors recommend the ELISA (Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) test for rapid diagnosis of dengue. However, in the initial days, this test invariably gives a negative result. This is where the PCR test comes useful. Since it is a molecular test, it can detect dengue even in the early stages, Shastri said.

Kasturba is the only civic hospital to offer the real–time PCR test. Shastri said that of the ten samples tested everyday in the lab, two test positive for dengue. Private hospitals also offer the test for Rs 1,600.

Doctors in private hospitals maintain that diagnosis of dengue is the biggest challenge. For the initial one week to ten days, dengue does not show up in the blood, said Dr Alan Soares, general physician, Holy Spirit Hospital, Andheri. But patients can be treated symptomatically once other monsoon ailments are ruled out, he said.

Soares said that most patients who later test positive for dengue, complain of high fever, severe joint pain and rashes.

"This year, patients are showing a slightly higher tendency of bleeding, so even those being treated at OPDs must be monitored properly," he said.

Civic officials claim there is nothing to worry about on the dengue front. This, in spite of the fact that OPDs continue to register dengue cases.

BMC’s executive health officer Dr Guirish Ambe said the numbers are not as astounding as in the case of malaria. So far, more than 118 people have been admitted for dengue in civic–run hospitals. No deaths

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