Positive cases should be confirmed only by sentinel laboratories: BBMP
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) might cry itself hoarse denying a dengue outbreak in the city.
But the numbers prove otherwise. The latest casualty is four-year-old Milan, from Kalyannagar, who died in a private hospital near Coles Park.
Though the BBMP claims that only 134 confirmed cases of dengue have been reported so far of which one has died, hospitals in the city give a different picture.
Though unofficial figures have not been collated, it is clear that many more people have been infected by the dengue virus.
Sixteen-year-old Shruthi from Attibele succumbed to the virus on Monday.
This is apart from the three deaths reported in the last four days. Scores of people are testing positive for the mosquito-borne disease every day in various hospitals. Yet the BBMP is strenuously denying dengue’s spread.
Why is this so? While sources in the State Health and Family Welfare Department said that it could be because it does not want to create panic among the citizens, senior doctors in State-run hospitals said that it was only an attempt to cover up the fact that BBMP’s Health Department was not taking adequate preventive and surveillance measures.
“We have been sending regular reports to the BBMP about the positive cases along with the addresses of the patients. Yet we keep getting fresh cases from the same areas year after year. Is this not indication enough to prove BBMP’s inefficiency?” asked a senior doctor from Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital.
The BBMP has been insisting that only samples that test positive at the sentinel laboratories identified under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme can be considered as positive. Apart from the National Institute of Virology’s (NIV) field station in Victoria Hospital, the Public Health Institute, National Centre for Disease Control and Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health are the three centres in the city.
BBMP Nodal Officer for Vector Control Lokesh said that test results from these laboratories are accurate because the samples are tested through the IgM Elisa method. “Results of samples investigated through various rapid tests can show false positive results,” he said.
An assistant bacteriologist from the Public Health Institute reiterated this.
But E. Premdas of Jaanarogya Andolana Karnataka (JAAK) said that he wondered how would it matter whether the samples tested positive at the treating hospital or at the NIV laboratory? “Isn’t the whole purpose of laboratory tests for better treatment of the patient?” he asked.
Requesting anonymity, a paediatrician who has done substantial research in dengue management said that fatality is more among children.
“There can be multiple health factors and complications arising out of them among adults. Though the patient might test positive for dengue, these factors can be an added cause. However, it is not so in children. So, the best thing is to start treatment symptomatically as per the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation and the Union Government,” he said.
Emphasising that the diagnosis of the treating doctor should be respected, the paediatrician added that the government should train doctors and paramedical staff on the Union Government’s protocol for dengue management and treatment.