Ostrich-like, Govt Denies Dengue Is Here
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31 July 2010
Despite the existing practice of considering private laboratory test reports to confirm dengue cases, the State Health Department and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have apparently decided not to take such reports.
Many see this as an attempt to suppress the true gravity of the dengue outbreak in the City.
Sources in the Health Department said there have been instances where the department has in the past considered reports of positive dengue case from a private lab, if the laboratory is a registered one. "The Health Department has considered reports given by private lab including major hospitals like Manipal and M S Ramaiah," an official said. The labs in both hospitals are accredited by NALB (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories).
But of late, the health officials refused to consider reports from private labs. Dr Chaluvaraj, Joint Director of Communicable Diseases, malaria and filaria said only reports given from designated government laboratories like National Institute of Virology (NIV) and Public Health Institute (PHI) will be considered as positive cases.
To confirm dengue positive cases, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests are conducted, which is also performed in a private laboratory.
One such diagnostic centre which the health department used to consider was Kanva Diagnostic Service.
Many government officials come to their lab for various tests in order to reimburse the testing cost.
"I do not know why the government is not considering private lab reports when many government officials come here for their tests. We do the same ELISA tests by determining the IgM (Immunoglobulin M) and IgG (Immunoglobulin G) and N1 tests," said Dr Venkatappa, managing director of the laboratory.
Even Manipal Hospital performs the same test to check whether a patient has dengue. However, one of the government recognised lab, Public Health Institute (PHI), does a ‘micro titer method’, a sensitive test for dengue.
According to a private hospital near Mathikere, an independent body is needed to check the spread of dengue in the City.
"The dengue epidemic has increased in the last two years. When I was a student, we seldom saw a dengue patient. I feel a third party should look into this and determine the severity of the situation," said an official from the hospital.
According to the Health Department, there has been only one dengue death reported so far. As many as 808 positive dengue cases and 662 positive chikungunya cases have been reported in the State since January 2010.
‘Pomegranate, papaya can check D’
At least one doctor in the City believes that pomegranate and drinking papaya leaf juice help increase the platelet counts for people suffering from dengue fever.
Alok Kumar, a resident of RT Nagar developed dengue-like symptoms and underwent blood tests. Subsequent blood tests resulted in very low platelet count which showed around 46,000 where actually the normal count is about 1,50,000 to 4,50,000.
He visited a general practioner in Mathikere where he was advised to eat pomegranate and drink papaya leaf juice. It helped. "These are traditional medicines which are normally advised by our ancestors. I am an allopathic doctor but I believe in ayurveda medicines too," said the doctor, Renji Isaac Mathews.