28 July 2010
By BK Lakshmikantha & Soumita Majumdar
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and private hospitals in the city seem to inhabit two different worlds. While reports of confirmed dengue cases and even deaths of patients suffering from the disease have been reported at private hospitals in the city, the BBMP insists that these reports are‘bogus’.
Under rules introduced a fortnight ago, all blood samples are to be sent also to the National Institute of Virology and the Public Health Institute for confirmation of dengue or chikungunya. The BBMP claims that many private hospitals are not following the new rules.
On Tuesday, Prema, 24, a former employee of a call centre and a resident of Lingarajapuram died. The Mahaveer Jain Hospital had declared hers a confirmed case of dengue on July 23. A relative said that she had not got admitted to hospital, as she did not have the means to pay her bills at a private hospital. She continued to run a high fever for days before her death. Prema’s was reportedly the third death in the city on account of dengue.
However, BBMP commissioner Siddaiah at a joint press meet on Tuesday with the department of health and family welfare said that not even a single case of dengue death was reported in the city this year. “Spread of vector–borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya are under control. The Palike is leaving no stone unturned to prevent these diseases,” he said.
Siddaiah said that of the 706 suspected dengue or chikungunya samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for testing, 209 were confirmed positive cases for dengue, and 82 chikungunya cases were confirmed. “There have been no deaths due to either dengue or chikungunya in the city. And compared to last year, when 2,310 samples were sent to NIV, and 313 dengue and 726 chikungunya cases confirmed, this year the disease is well under control,” Siddaiah said.
When questioned about the dengue deaths reported at private hospitals, the commissioner said these were‘bogus’ reports.
“Through investigations, we have found that the dengue deaths reported from private hospitals is false. We have served notices to three hospitals in this regard,” he said. Siddaiah added that despite circulars that were sent to private hospitals, many cases of dengue are not reported to the BBMP. Questioned about the death of Prema on Tuesday, the commissioner said that tests results from the NIV were still awaited in that case.
Referring to the recent death of15–year–old Akshay Kumar, which sparked protests in Mavallipura, after Tirumala Hospital, Kamakshipalya, certified that the death was caused by dengue, Siddaiah said that the report was‘bogus’.
“We had issued notices to all private hospitals instructing them to send blood samples to the NIV for confirmation of dengue. The private practitioner who conducted the check–up of the boy confirmed it was a case of dengue, but that cannot be considered,” he said.
Siddaiah said that the BBMP had issued show cause notices to three private hospitals –Tirumala Hospital, Kamakshipalya, Gayathri Hospital, Vijayanagar, and St John’s Hospital, Sarjapur – for not sending blood samples to the NIV before issuing confirmation, of their own, of cases of dengue.
Questioned about the confusion, principal secretary in the health and family welfare department, EV Ramana Reddy, said, “As per the protocol, dengue deaths can be confirmed only after reports from authentic labs like the NIV are available. The media should help us educate people about dengue, and we should prevent panic,” he said.