The Delhi government on Tuesday put a cap on the prices of chikungunya tests at all private hospitals and labs, a day after the number of cases suddenly spiked in the city.
The chikungunya serology IgM test, which can confirm a case of chikungunya five to six days after the fever, has been capped at `600. The test costs between `800 and `1,000 at private facilities.
The price of test that can confirm chikungunya earlier – RT PCR (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) – has been capped at `1,500. The test costs between `3,500 and `4,000 at private facilities.
This is in addition to the capping of prices of ELISA test for dengue at `600 and platelet count at `50, which the government had done at the beginning of the month.
“Action as deemed fit, will be initiated against any private hospital/nursing home or private laboratory charging more than the fixed ceiling price of the same. This is for strict compliance with immediate effect,” the order read.
The order came on the day Hindustan Times highlighted the surge in the number of cases of chikungunya. The number of chikungunya cases jumped from 20 to 412 in a week and dengue cases from 311 to 487, according to the data released by the municipal corporations on Monday.
The minister blamed the three MCDs for the rise in the cases of the vector-borne diseases, which are both transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito.
This mosquito breeds in clean stagnant water and takes eight to 10 days to mature from larvae.
“People must empty out and clean all vessels which hold clean water in their homes or surroundings at least once a week to break the life cycle of the mosquito,” said Satyendar Jain.
“But it is the job of the MCD to maintain cleanliness, prevent water collection and check for breeding, which they have failed to do. This is the reason Delhi still has preventable diseases which should have been eradicated 50 years ago,” he said.
The health minister assured people that it is fully prepared to handle dengue and chikungunya cases. “First of all, people do not die of chikungunya and neither do they need to get hospialised for it. We are well prepared for the treatment of the people. There are 10,000 beds in the government hospitals; there is no shortage of beds. We have also started 355 fever clinics,” said Jain.