ASSERTING THAT rapid diagnostic dengue tests conducted by some private hospitals and laboratories are prone to false reports, the Panchkula health department has appealed to people not to be misled and only rely on IgM-based ELISA test for confirmation of dengue.
The statement came following reports of death of a patient in a private hospital due to dengue, which the authorities denied and stated it to be a case of pneumonia. “There has not been any death due to dengue in the district,” said Civil Surgeon Dr V K Bansal.
“Private laboratories may conclude that the patient has dengue on the basis of rapid test, but we confirm it only after the sample is tested by IgM-based ELISA test which is conducted in the sentinel surveillance laboratory in General Hospital, Sector 6.” As per the directives from the health department, every private hospital/clinic is required to intimate the health department about any suspected case of dengue and send another sample to the laboratory for testing. Once it is confirmed in the sentinel surveillance laboratory, it is counted as a positive case.
“Private hospitals often use rapid diagnostic dengue (NS1 antigen) test for diagnosis. It is preferred, since it is cheaper and gives results within less time. But it does not give an authentic report. A patient with positive report of dengue through card test may or may not have dengue,” said Dr Bansal, urging people not to be misled by card test reports which compromises sensitivity and specificity. As many as 72 positive cases of dengue have been reported in the district this season, out of which 58 cases were reported after September 1. There were four cases of chikungunya. The department has not confirmed any death due to dengue so far.
The department officials have urged people to make judicious use of diagnostic tests and not be misled by the money-minting process of private laboratories. “Do not be misled. The platelet count can decrease due to various other reasons and symptoms of viral fever can be confused with dengue,” said Dr Bansal.
Stepping up the awareness drives for prevention and control of dengue, the department has also started fogging and anti-larvae spray in all the residential sectors. A total of 28 teams, each consisting of a supervisor, accredited social health activist (ASHA) worker and anganwadi worker are conducting door-to-door survey to screen out suspected cases. Patients harassed
EVEN as a number of patients visited the General Hospital, Sector 6, in the wake of dengue and malaria cases, the state-wide strike by laboratory technicians left them waiting for hours on Monday. All laboratory technicians under the banner of Haryana State Laboratory Technicians Union suspended work and sat on protest outside the General Hospital, Sector 6, demanding revision in pay scales. The authorities roped in doctors and staff nurses to collect samples for tests, which left the patients waiting for hours. A fever OPD set up specifically for suspected patients of malaria and dengue was also affected, as diagnostic tests were delayed.