Even as hospitals across the city are flooded with suspected cases of chikungunya and dengue, doctors said a significant percentage of patients have an infection with symptoms of viral fever and low platelet count.
Doctors said 50% patients have a condition similar to thrombocytopenia -- a disorder in which the platelet count drops significantly, accompanied by high fever.
The infection has left doctors perplexed and they are unable to identify its origin. However, they said its severity is less than chikungunya and dengue with a shorter recovery period.
Dr Raman Abhi, additional director, internal medicine at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, said symptoms of the infection include moderate or high fever, shivering, severe body ache or swelling and body rashes similar to dengue and chikungunya, with recovery needing less than three weeks.
Medical examination of the condition has shown that monocytes — a type of white blood cells — are higher than normal and there is reduction in other type of white blood cells, thereby affecting the platelet count. Tests for chikungunya and dengue antigen and antibody are also negative,” Abhi said.
Dr Sushila Kataria, associate director, department of internal medicine, Medanta - The Medicity, said 10% patients in the out patient department (OPD) are having symptoms of the infection and are being admitted.
She said five patients diagnosed with the infection are in the ICU.
“The infection is inexplicable. Three samples of patients have been sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases for further investigation,” Kataria said.
Doctors are attributing the emergence of the infection to the continuous fluctuation in temperature, leading to mutation of the suspected virus. The treatment includes administering paracetamol and intake of large quantities of fluids.
Dr Sfurti Mann, consultant, internal medicine, W Pratiksha Hospital, said 30% patients in the OPD are showing symptoms of the infection.
“There is a viral outbreak and most patients are complaining of symptoms similar to that of dengue and chikungunya, causing mass hysteria. The platelet count is being normalised in three to five days,” Mann said