Stung hard by dengue, Mohali’s govt hospitals run out of testing kits

With 1,622 cases and 12 deaths, Mohali district is the worst-affected by the viral infection in the Chandigarh tricity area
A health worker carrying out fogging in the residential area at Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Monday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
A health worker carrying out fogging in the residential area at Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Monday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Published on Oct 19, 2021 01:53 AM IST
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ByHillary Victor, Mohali

Struggling with an unprecedented rise in dengue patients, government hospitals in Mohali have run out of the testing kits to detect the vector-borne disease.

The tests are conducted for free at the government hospitals in Mohali’s Phase 6, Dera Bassi and Kharar. But with no more kits available, patients have been forced to turn to private hospitals, where they are being charged anywhere from 800 to 1,000 per test.

In just two months, Mohali has witnessed 1,622 dengue infections, a 244% spike from the 471 cases detected in 2020. The district has also lost 12 residents to the virus, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Notably, as per norms, the health department only considers test reports by a government lab, and then carries out insecticide spray in the positive patient’s house. All private hospitals and labs need to report any suspected or confirmed dengue cases to the health department for remedial measures.

Civil surgeon Dr Adarshpal Kaur said, “The shortage of kits is not only in Mohali but in entire Punjab. We have sent the demand to the state government and hopefully, it will be sorted out soon.”

“We are facing an alarming situation. Anti-dengue drives have been started and the number of anti-larvae teams has been increased. But we need the full cooperation of residents, who need to take vector-control measures at their houses,” she said.

“Over 1,600 people have been infected and 12 have died in Mohali. Ten of these deaths were reported in just 16 days of October and two in September,” said the civil surgeon.

She said maximum dengue cases were surfacing in urban areas, including Phases 3B1, 4 and 5, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Kurali.

District epidemiologist Dr Vikrant Nagra said the civil hospital in Phase 6 was equipped with a 50-bed dengue ward, while those in Kharar and Dera Bassi had six beds each, and most of these were available for serious patients.

Pvt hospitals warned against overcharging

Civil surgeon Dr Adarshpal Kaur warned private hospitals and laboratories against overcharging patients for tests and treatment, and said patients can contact the helpline 104 for complaints and queries.

Due to the spurt in dengue cases this year, the Punjab health department had recently fixed charges for the NSI Antigen and Dengue Antibody tests as 600 each, and 50 for Platelet Count Test at all private hospitals.

‘Dengue cycle changed due to late rains’

On the current rise in dengue cases, Dr Suman Singh, director, health services, Chandigarh, said, “Earlier, dengue cases would start surfacing in July and last till September, as dengue mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, when the temperature is high. However, due to monsoon’s arrival and withdrawal getting delayed over the recent years, the breeding cycle has completely changed, leading to more cases now. But these should start ebbing away with the dip in temperature.”

She cautioned residents against allowing stagnating water in their households. “The health department is inspecting houses and challaning the violators, besides conducting fogging,” Dr Singh added.

Mohali has reported 1,622 cases so far this year. (HT)
Mohali has reported 1,622 cases so far this year. (HT)

110 more contract infection in tricity

On Monday, as many as 110 more people got infected with dengue in the tricity, but the figure was lower than 193 on Sunday.

Of the total cases, 68 were reported from Mohali, 25 from Chandigarh and 17 from Panchkula.

Apart from 1,622 cases in Mohali this year, Chandigarh has detected 419 dengue infections, while 355 people have contracted the disease in Panchkula.

While Mohali has confirmed 12 deaths since September, Chandigarh and Panchkula have not reported any fatality owing to dengue so far.

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Friday, December 03, 2021