Dengue-malaria combo new scare,city hospitals report rise in cases

Hospitals have reported cases of patients being diagnosed with both dengue and malaria at the same time.

Written by Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi | Published: October 4, 2013 12:18 am

With the Delhi government and municipal corporations struggling to contain the dengue outbreak,hospitals have begun reporting cases of patients being diagnosed with both dengue and malaria at the same time.

Dr Atul Gogia,consultant in medicine at Sir Ganga Ram hospital,said,“I have seen four patients who have tested positive for dengue and malaria. Their symptoms are of dengue,but diagnostic reports also show malaria parasite.”

Doctors said most of these patients have been diagnosed with the less virulent vivax strain of malaria.

“Only one patient had falciparum malaria,also known as cerebral malaria. He had symptoms of multi-organ failure,but we managed to control it and he survived,” he said.

Dr S Chatterjee,consultant in internal medicine at Apollo Hospitals,said,“We are seeing quite a few cases of patients with dengue and malaria together. When fever persists in a patient,we conduct a malaria test as a precautionary measure.”

While both are vector-borne diseases,dengue is a viral disease and malaria is caused by a parasite. The mosquitoes which carry the diseases are different — the Aedes aegypti causes dengue,while the female Anopheles causes malaria.

“The causative organism for both are different and they are spread by different vectors,so technically a person can get both the diseases together. We need more fogging activities to control mosquitoes,” a microbiologist from AIIMS said.

A doctor at Guru Teg Bahadur hospital in East Delhisaid at least 7-8 such cases have been seen over the past two weeks. Lok Nayak hospital doctors said at least 4-5 cases were reported there.

According to civic bodies,2,557 dengue cases have been reported this year,with three confirmed and seven suspected deaths.

Nearly 120 cases of malaria have been reported,but no deaths.

Civic officials said no count is maintained for patients who get both diseases at the same time. “There are no guidelines for a separate count of such patients. The same patient may be counted twice if they are diagnosed with both diseases,” a municipal health official said.

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