BENGALURU: Dengue appears to be the new scourge, with a rise in the number of cases across Karnataka. Bengaluru reported 352 confirmed cases and several districts are also seeing a spike in cases. While the central health ministry on Tuesday warned states to take extra precautions to prevent co-infection of vector-borne diseases in the monsoon with Covid-19, blood banks fear a shortage of platelet components.
During the lockdown, there was a major shortage in blood and blood component donation. “Platelet donation is a complicated phenomenon. The best results are from Single Donor Platelet (SDP) donation which is used for dengue and cancer patients, in poison cases etc. We have very few donors coming forward, and are likely to see a desperate situation, with a huge demand for beds, if dengue cases go up in this phase,” said Harsha Lakshman, general secretary, Karnataka Vidyarthi Koota (KVK).
Meanwhile, dengue cases are being reported in the districts too, and blood banks are reporting increased demand for platelets. However, there is no shortage of platelets in the districts, and in fact, some districts are sending platelets to cities where there is a shortage.
For instance, in Dakshina Kannada, Prabhar Sharma of Red Cross Society says that while people are generally reluctant to donate blood during the pandemic, in Mangaluru, the scene is different. “With good turnout of donors, we are not only able to meet the blood and platelet requirement of Dakshina Kannada, but are also sending many units of blood to Bengaluru, Davanagere and other places where there is a shortage,” he said.
In Udupi district, as of July 24, 261 cases were reported, and there has an increase in cases in the past month. Dr Prashant Bhat, district vector-borne diseases control officer, told TNIE, “Because of intermittent rain, larvae breeding increases, leading to a spike in dengue cases.”While the number of voluntary donors has come down, the other reason for shortage is that only select blood banks have component separation units to retrieve platelets. Meanwhile, Health Commissioner Dr K V Trilok Chandra said that a meeting has been held with all district commissioners, and instructions given for special surveillance measures for zika, dengue, malaria and other vector-borne diseases.