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Dengue can strike again, keep surroundings dry in danger months

Hospitalisation of dengue patients for closer monitoring is needed if platelets go below 15,000/cumm, after which a transfusion may be needed.

delhi Updated: Sep 20, 2013 03:11 IST
Hindustan Times

Hospitalisation of dengue patients is needed for their proper care.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms usually start within five to six days after an infected mosquito has bitten a person. Some common symptoms are: high fever which may reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit, severe headache, pain behind the eye, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, rash, abdominal cramps, internal bleeding, including gums

Can you get dengue more than once?
Yes. There are four distinct strains of dengue virus, Den-1, Den-2, Den-3 and Den-4. Since the viruses do not offer cross-immunity against each other, you can get dengue infection four times in your life, sometimes in the same year.

How severe is the infection this year?
The dominant strain this year is Den-2, which causes severe symptoms and longer hospitalisation. Last year, the outbreak in Delhi and the NCR was caused by the milder Den-1 strain.

When does infection peak?
Infection peaks in Delhi and the NCR in September and October, with the a few hundreds getting infected each day, show hospital data. The official data, however, usually hovers around 70 a day even in peak season.

Are the tests for dengue confirmation?
Dengue is diagnosed using Dengue NS1 antigen test (Rs. 2,000-Rs. 2,5000) and Dengue-specific IgM & IgG tests (Rs. 1,500-Rs. 2,000).

How often do you need to get your platelet counts measured?
When a person gets infected, the blood levels of platelets, the blood cells that stop red blood cells and plasma leaking through blood vessels, fall rapidly. In most cases, platelets stabilise within four to five days and then slowly go back to normal.

A person with dengue needs to get their platelet counts tested (Rs. 200-Rs. 500) once a day if it falls below normal — 1.5 lakh to 3.5 lakh/cumm — and twice a day after they fall under 15,000/cumm.

When do you need hospitalisation?
Hospitalisation for closer monitoring is needed if platelets go below 15,000/cumm, after which a transfusion may be needed.

What precautions can I take?
Importantly, prevent mosquitos from breeding around your house.

Dengue case in Noida:
There are no cases of dengue in Noida, claims the health department. But this isn’t true. Hindustan Times met three Noida residents being treated for dengue in local hospitals, including the government-run district hospital that has confirmed 27 cases in 2013. Just three Noida hospitals have confirmed 461 dengue cases till Thursday.

Rahul Chauhan, 21
Hospital: district hospital, Sector 30, Noida
27 cases at the hospital

Chauhan woke up with an upset stomach, high fever, joint pain and vomiting on Monday. Believing it to be a seasonal viral fever, he went to a private clinic with a friend. The physician suggested that he visit a government hospital at the earliest and get his blood tested.

Chauhan, a resident of Sector 22 in Noida, was then admitted to the district hospital. The doctors suspected that he had viral fever but asked him to get a battery of tests done anyway.
“The reports suggested that I was suffering from dengue. My platelet count was dropping, the doctors said,” said Chauhan, who is a third-year mass-communication student of Delhi University.

He is now recovering and his platelet count has improved. “The doctors have put me on a liquid diet. My platelet count has hit 1,65,000,” he said.

The district hospital in Noida has confirmed 27 cases of dengue till now. There has been a surge in the number of patients suffering from viral, malaria and dengue fevers.

Ajitabh Pandey, 39
Hospital: a private hospital in noida
284 cases at the hospital

Pandey had been looking for a short break from work. But he’d never expected that the vacation would be spent on a hospital bed. Pandey, a resident of Vasundhra in Ghaziabad, has been admitted to a private hospital in Noida with a low platelet count of 70,000.

This private hospital in Noida so far has received 284 confirmed cases of dengue. The cases have been reported to the health department also.

Anuradha Tomar, 26
Hospital: Kailash Hospital, Sector 27, Noida
150 cases at the hospital

Tomar, a physician herself, had been cautious about her health. While examining one of her patients last week, she began to feel weak and by the time she reached home, she had severe body pains.

She was staying away from home at a hostel in Faridabad. Her family brought her to Kailash Hospital in Noida. Her platelet count was 1,70,000 when she was admitted to the hospital but a sudden dip in the number alarmed the doctors.

“Her platelet count went down to 67,000 two days ago. We were really worried about her as she had been confirmed having dengue,” recalls Usha Tomar, her mother.

Doctors at the hospital have told her to wait for few more days at the hospital as her platelet count is around 70,000.

“The fever has gone but I still have severe joint pain and my platelet count is not improving,” said Anuradha, who works at a private hospital in Faridabad.

Kailash Hospital has sent a report of 150 cases to the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD) and is awaiting a reply.

First Published: Sep 20, 2013 01:13 IST