Pune stares at platelets’ crisis as dengue cases surge
As platelets constitute a vital blood transfusion component in the treatment of dengue, the demand for single-donor and random-donor platelets has rocketed and many blood banks are even organising blood donation camps to tide over the platelets’ shortage
PUNE: While Pune district is witnessing a rise in dengue cases this year, it is also seeing an alarming fall in blood platelets in various blood banks. As platelets constitute a vital blood transfusion component in the treatment of dengue, the demand for single-donor and random-donor platelets has rocketed and many blood banks are even organising blood donation camps to tide over the platelets’ shortage, officials said. With the number of dengue cases likely to increase in the coming days, the demand for platelets is only set to increase further.
Dr Nisha Teli, head, Pune District Blood Bank, acknowledged that there is a shortage of platelets in the district. “At Aundh District Hospital, we are taking the help of other blood banks, private and government, to manage platelets. Blood donation camps are being conducted under the ‘Ayushman Bhava’ campaign. There are a few more blood donation camps lined up at the Ganpati mandals. Till October 2, we are likely to get enough stock of blood and blood components to meet the shortage,” she said.
Pune district has four government blood banks and 42 private blood banks. The majority of blood banks are facing an acute shortage of platelets, while the remaining blood banks are pulling on with a meagre stock that would last for two to three days. A normal person has a blood platelet count between 20,000 and 450,000 per microlitre of blood. About 80 to 90% of dengue patients have a platelet count of below 100,000 while 10 to 20% of these patients report very low platelet levels of 20,000 or less. Such dengue patients who develop complications such as bleeding, require platelet transfusions.
Ram Bangad, founder of the NGO, Raktache Nate, informed that there is an acute shortage of platelets in the entire Pune district and that they get more than 40 calls daily from government and private blood banks. “We are arranging blood donation camps to meet the rising demand. Given the surge in the number of dengue- and cancer- patients, the demand for platelets has increased. However, the shelf-life of platelets is five days which makes it difficult to store large amounts of platelets,” he said.
Dr Rajendra Wable, dean, Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital, said that in the past one month, the number of dengue cases has increased leading to a surge in the demand for platelets. “We have a stock of around 28 bags which will last for the next two to three days. We are looking forward to arranging more blood donation camps to meet the demand,” he said.