HYDERABAD: If your doctor diagnoses you with dengue, make it a point to check the case sheet if all the tests required to confirm the fever have been conducted. Express visited several private hospitals and nursing homes and found that doctors were going ahead with treatment for dengue even before the completion of proper diagnosis.
“The hospitals or nursing homes admit the patients and start supportive treatment though prescribed tests are not performed before arriving at the conclusion,” told Dr S Ram Kumar, Medchal district programme officer, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP). Besides, some hospital doctors informed patients orally that they are diagnosed with dengue and did not mention the same in their case sheets, he said.
This is either done to fleece more money out of panicking patients or out of the doctors’ fear of getting an earful from patients for delaying the treatment if the fever is indeed diagnosed eventually, opines Dr Ram. In either case, he advises that starting a full-fledged treatment without confirming the disease is neither good for the pocket nor one’s health.
With high mortality and morbidity associated with dengue, it becomes urgent for the doctors to diagnose the disease during its early stages. The first test conducted on a patient suffering for five or less days of fever is the NS1 rapid test which checks for a fall in platelets count. However, apart from dengue, a reduced platelet count can also indicate a viral infection, blood disorders like thrombocytopenia, or malaria. In order to confirm dengue, ELISA-NS1 test has to be performed 48 hours after the onset of fever.
Meanwhile, if it has been more than five-days that a person is suffering from fever, dengue IgG test has to be performed, said a senior official from NVBDCP who confirmed that they came across cases where hospitals did not perform all the prescribed tests.
Apart from major corporate hospitals, Only government tertiary hospitals, Fever Hospital, Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM), Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) are capable of conducting the ELISA-NS1 test. All the other hospitals are required to submit their samples to the government hospitals, institutes or UPHCs to diagnose dengue, says Dr Ram.
Urging all patients to not rely only on oral confirmation by their doctors about the disease and check for all the required tests to be conducted, Dr Ram added that people can approach any of the UPHCs to undergo the tests free of cost.