Dengue data goes wrong without uniform test kits

MCDs don't recognise some tests run by pvt hospitals

 Despite private hospitals in the capital reporting hundreds of confirmed dengue cases, the results obtained by the testing kits by many of these hospitals and clinics are not accepted by the municipal corporations, leading to discrepancy in dengue data.

According to Dr N K Yadav, health officer in South Delhi Municipal Corporation, only cases diagnosed using the Elisa NS1 or Elisa Mac kits are considered by the corporations. But the private hospitals mostly use different rapid test kits, which they claim give out the results within two hours, as against 48-72 hours taken by the Elisa kits.

“Due to advancements in medical technology, the rapid test kits are able to confirm dengue cases in less than two hours and are equally effective. Doctors, as well as patients, want to know the test results soon,” said Dr Manav Manchanda, senior consultant at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences.

The hospital has diagnosed over 200 cases so far.

Some hospitals also alleged that the government has not given any formal guidelines on the test kits to be used, which is leading to discrepancy in the number of cases.

“Either the government should give guidelines on paper or accept results of any kit that has licence. Tests by Elisa kits are done in batches and we have to wait for long for samples to arrive,” said a microbiologist at another hospital.

But Dr Yadav said the rapid testing kits often show false activity and are not accurate. “These kits often give test results as positive even when a patient does not have dengue. That is why the government does not consider those data,” he said.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital already has reported 125 confirmed cases of dengue at its in-patient department with 31 currently admitted. “Despite creating a special ward for dengue patients, we are unable to accommodate 30-35 cases daily,” said Dr S P Byotra, chairman of internal medicine at the hospital.

The municipal corporations have pegged the number of dengue cases in the entire capital at 446 till September 14. But the ground reality can be understood by the situation prevailing in some government hospitals where patients are forced to share beds.

“We cannot deny entry to any patient. There are circumstances when three patients are forced to share one bed. If you visit the hospital at night, you will be horrified by the situation,” said Dr Sanjay Choudhary, nodal officer for dengue at Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in north-west Delhi.

He said till Wednesday the hospital received a total of 335 confirmed cases and 941 suspected cases. Likewise, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in east Delhi has reported 149 cases till date.

But municipal corporation officials say the numbers reported by government hospitals are high because they receive a lot of cases from outside Delhi. “For example, 40 per cent of dengue cases at GTB Hospital are from the neighbouring states. Our statistics reflect only patients from the capital,” said Yadav.

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