Dengue outbreak in Bangalore?

One-fourth of patients with viral fever are testing positive for the disease

Contrary to claims by the authorities that dengue is under control in the city, hospitals are recording a rise in the number of people suffering from the vector-borne disease.

Although it is not a chaotic situation like last year when hospitals reported a bed shortage, doctors said the disease was spreading at an alarming rate and they had been noticing a “significant surge” in the number of cases. This has even triggered an online petition on change.org.

While some private hospitals have even reported deaths due to multi-organ failure in patients who had been admitted for viral ailments in Bengaluru, Naveen Kumar, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Project Coordinator for National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme, claimed that there had been no deaths.

On an average, nearly one-fourth of patients seen for viral fever in government and private hospitals are testing positive for the disease.

According to the Health Department’s data, 162 of the total 1,626 positive cases in the State have been reported from Bengaluru from January till date. However, BBMP officials claimed only 106 positive cases have been reported so far. These are just the official figures. While unofficial numbers have not been collated, many more people have been infected by dengue virus and doctors in government and private hospitals confirmed this to The Hindu . The disease-causing aedes aegypti mosquito breeds in fresh water and bites during the day.

Internal medicine consultant Bhanu Rekha from Columbia Asia’s Whitefield hospital said that the hospital had recorded at least 200 positive cases in the last one month. “The disease is extremely rampant in Whitefield, Kadugodi, K.R. Puram, Mahadevapura and neighbouring Hosur too,” she said.

In districts

In the State, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada have recorded the highest number of cases. This is followed by Bengaluru city, Mysuru and Davangere.

B.G. Prakash, State Deputy Director (Malaria, Filaria), attributed the higher number of cases in Udupi to the rampant water stagnation in rubber plantations in the district. “The trees are wrapped with plastic covers and rainwater gets collected in them, resulting in mosquito breeding. Although the number of cases is increasing, the situation is under control and it is not an outbreak.” We have intensified awareness and preventive measures across the State, he said.

While the government insists on Mac-Elisa (Avidin biotin Complex IgM antibody capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) as a confirmatory test for dengue, doctors from private hospitals are asking why rapid tests such as the NS1 antigen test cannot be done instead. Mac-Elisa, they say, is not only time-consuming but also expensive.

Dr. Prakash said that the results of samples tested through the IgM Elisa method were accurate. “Results of samples investigated through rapid tests can show false positive results. There are 33 sentinel laboratories in the State where the samples can be tested through IgM Elisa,” he added.

Jayanagar, Padmanabhanagar, J.P. Nagar, Bommanahalli, K.R. Puram, Whitefield, Kadugodi, Mahadevapura and C.V. Raman Nagar

District-wise dengue figures (from January till date)

Udupi: 273

Dakshina Kannada: 175

Bengaluru city: 162

Mysuru: 151

Davangere: 119

Total positive cases in State: 1,626

There is a significant surge in the number of dengue-like cases and other viral ailments this year. We have also had some deaths in the hospital due to multi-organ failure. -Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman of Manipal Hospitals .

Both the BBMP and the government are underplaying the disease in Bengaluru. Every patient who reports with a viral illness has classic dengue symptoms with a drop in platelet count. The situation is alarming and is likely to worsen in the coming days. -Shalini Joshi, Internal Medicine consultant, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road.

Credits The Hindu

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