If you have tested positive for dengue but are not responding to medication and platelet transfusion, go for more tests. For, you may be suffering from malaria.
That's what happened to Rajiv Bhati, a 17-year-old engineering student from Meerut. Bhati was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) with fever, diarrhoea and extreme weakness.
Since his blood report showed a low platelet count, he was treated for dengue but his condition did not improve. He tested positive for malaria.
Doctors say there are chances that if a person has dengue and does not respond to medication and platelet transfusion, he could be suffering from malaria as well.
“We have patients with mixed infections. So in addition to testing for dengue, malaria tests should be done in case of any high-grade fever,” says Dr Naval Vikram, assistant professor, department of medicine at AIIMS.
Initially, the indications are the same for both malaria and dengue. But over time, the symptoms start differing. “In dengue cases, rashes may surface, the platelet count may fall and there may be bleeding, but in malaria cases, the spleen may enlarge,” says Dr Vikram.
Patients are now being made to undergo multiple tests if the viral fever refuses to come down after four days of medication.
“We have got instances where malaria cases are being missed and the patient is being treated for other diseases. Such cases can get complicated,” says Monica Mahajan, senior consultant of internal medicine, Max Hospital.