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City hospitals at ‘fever’ish pitch

Reality check: Mismatch between numbers given by BBMP and doctors

A fever and joint pain and one would immediately assume that he or she is suffering from dengue or chikungunya. Such has been the paranoia, as the number of viral fever cases has drastically risen in the City over the last one month. Doctors are treating patients with a variety of fevers – including those with dengue-like symptoms.

What’s startling is that the official figures are nowhere near the sum total of figures furnished by individual hospitals. Here’s what Deccan Herald’s reality check revealed:

KC General Hospital
The authorities here say they get three to four suspected cases of dengue and 30-40 chikungunya cases every day. “Last year, we had hardly any patients suffering from dengue or chikungunya. But this year, we are seeing a lot of dengue cases,” they said. 

Since May, this hospital has received two dengue positive cases and 13 chikungunya positives. Nearly 10-15 per cent people come with viral fever to the hospital. The hospital has reported a rise in viral fever that shows dengue like symptoms. “In fact, we presently have four patients who are being treated for dengue like fever. The symptoms resemble dengue – swelling of feet, joint pain and fever that last for four to five days – but the test results are negative,” he added. The hospital has now created a 10-bedded ward for viral fever, due to the increase in patients.

Bowring Hospital
In Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, more than 60 OPD patients with viral fever are screened in a day. Hospital’s RMO Dr Rajanna, said, “In the last one month, the number of dengue cases has risen very high with 22 testing positive only in a span of 15 days”.  Bowring has reported 63 positive cases of chikungunya and 45 cases of dengue fever, till date. Even ESI Hospital’s medicine department in Rajajinagar, 10-15 cases with suspected viral fever are admitted every day, with nearly 60-70 OPD patients. Sources from the microbiology department said, “Out of 401 suspected dengue samples being collected, 58 have tested positive since April 2009”. ESI, Indiranagar, too has been receiving at least 15 OPD patients with viral fever per day. Twenty-two positive cases of dengue were reported in June alone.

Vani Vilas Hospital
At Vani Vilas Hospital, the number of OPD cases with viral fever has been steadily increasing. There were 25 suspected cases of dengue in June and 23 suspected cases reported this month. Victoria Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr B G Tilak pointed out that the present viral fever has symptoms of dengue but all cannot be confirmed positive. The hospital has reported 15 cases of chikungunya and two cases of dengue, since June.

Shifaa Hospital
Shifaa Hospital currently has a few positive dengue cases with 6 people being treated in ICU. On an average, the OPD screens 3-4 dengue suspects. However, the doctors say that last two to three months have seen a spurt in dengue cases. “If we receive 100 patients with viral fever, around 30 would be suspected of dengue fever. However, the numbers cannot be confirmed as most patients, coming from BPL family, cannot afford the dengue blood culture test and don’t go for further treatment,” said Dr Sarfaraz, one of the doctors in the hospital. 

While Sagar Hospitals had treated 16 positive cases of dengue since May, St John’s Hospital has received 11 dengue cases in May and June and 14 cases till July 7. Even Apollo Hospital screened 23 OPD cases for viral fever and 51 in-patients in the last two weeks. 

MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital has had 26 positive cases of dengue in May with 15 suspected cases in June and 25 in July. The hospital, however, mentioned that as the samples sent to virology department in NIMHANS took time, they gave the medication depending on the symptoms. 

BBMP records 338 chikungunya , 46 dengue cases
However, BBMP Chief Health Officer L T Gayatri clarifies that BBMP only has records of the tests that were submitted at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. “Many hospitals will have their own labs where they do the test for dengue. However, we have reports available only from NIV,” she said. BBMP has recorded 338 cases of chikungunya and 46 cases of dengue till date.

According to Dr Usha Vasunkar, director of Health and Family Welfare Department, there were 34 dengue cases in Bangalore city and 438 cases in the State. Dakshina Kannada ranked the highest with 99 cases of dengue, with 67 in Haveri, 37 in Uttara Kannada and 84 in Dharwad. However, she particularly mentioned, “Apart from the health department, community participation plays a very important role. “

(Published in Deccan Herald; along with Poornima Nataraj)

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