Hoshiarpur: While the department of health claims it is undertaking regular fogging for eradication of mosquitoes and public awareness campaigns notwithstanding, the number of dengue cases are on the rise in the district. New cases of dengue are regularly being reported at various hospitals.
Till Thursday, the official count of victims struck by mosquito-borne diseases had reached 167. Besides, many patients are availing treatment at private hospitals. There has been a spurt in dengue cases in the last one week. Officials attribute the unabated rise to changing weather conditions and negligence on the part of the people.
Epidemiologist Sailesh Kumar revealed that when a surveillance team from the health department visited the house of a woman who died of dengue a few days ago in Amritsar, it found Aedes mosquito larvae in the baffle tray of their refrigerator. He cautioned people against accumulation of water in and around their houses and advised them to maintain cleanliness to avoid transmission of the virus.
Most of the cases are being reported from urban areas. Earlier, the virus was localised within the city, but now dengue patients are coming from different parts of the city. Spread of the disease has increased the demand for platelets to treat patients. An aphesis machine was installed at the civil hospital to provide single donor platelets (SDP) to dengue patients but it is lying unused as patients cannot afford the charges of the treatment.
Blood bank in-charge Amarjit Lal confirmed that till date, no SDP procedure has been done. “Patients cannot afford even the minimal charges of the kit which costs around Rs 9,000. So random donor platelet system, where platelets from multiple donors are used, is being used in the hospital,” Lal said.
On the other hand, patients undergoing treatment at private hospitals prefer the SDP procedure and the demand is being fulfilled by Bhai Ghanayia Ji Blood Bank in Model Town. The private blood bank has so far catered to as many as 132 patients from Hoshiarpur and the neighbouring areas of Himachal Pradesh. “Generally, we charge Rs 10,000 per unit of platelet which is much low than what is available in other cities, but if the patient is poor, we reduce the charges further,” said blood bank president Bhupinder Singh Pahwa.
Medical experts said SDP is more advantageous as the patient is exposed to fewer donors and chances of contracting an infection are less.