Blood banks unable to meet platelet demand in Visakhapatnam

Out of 20 blood tests registered in the KGH Virology, there are around four to five dengue positive cases a day or even less sometimes.

Published: 08th September 2019 09:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2019 09:24 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: With monsoon at its peak, more viral fever cases are reported at city hospitals. In the past two weeks, majority of private clinics have seen at least 10 to 15 cases of viral fevers daily. As the platelet count has dropped in many patients, there is heavy demand for the platelets from blood banks. More than 200 units of platelets per day are supplied by 10 to 12 blood banks in the city. Still the blood banks are unable to meet the demand. Many hospitals and clinics in the city seek platelets after three to four days of fever.  

Out of 20 blood tests registered in the KGH Virology, there are around four to five dengue positive cases a day or even less sometimes. But more viral fever cases are reported in every hospital. In the KGH, there were about 150 fever cases reported in the outpatient ward in the last two weeks. According to the health officials, there is a drop in dengue cases this year. About 200 patients tested positive for dengue till now this year, while it was 1,800 in the corresponding period last year. The total number of cases in 2018 was 2,450.

In the past few days, the demand for platelets from the city blood banks has increased. Each blood bank supplies at least 10 to 12 units of platelets. Not all the patients reported with dengue positive require platelets. Only viral fever patients are in need of platelets. Every person has about 2.5 lakh to 4 lakh platelets in the blood. During any viral fever or dengue or chikungunya, when the patients bleed profusely the platelet count drops to less than 10,000, requiring transfusion of platelets. There are situations when the patients bleed even when the platelet count is 50,000 or take ill. From 200 units of blood one unit of platelets can be extracted. When one unit of platelets is transfused to a patient the platelets increase to 20,000 to 30,000.

However, blood bank officials said there is shortage of blood donors and the banks are in need of blood donations on a mass scale frequently as the shelf life of donated blood is only five days. On a daily basis, each blood bank supplies five to 10 units of platelets in the city on normal days, but the demand is double that number. Adding to this, patients come from Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts and Odisha State for platelets.

According to the medical officers of the city blood banks, though there is a drop in dengue cases, the viral fevers are on the rise.

What officials say
On the increase in fever cases, the medical and health officials have geared up for precautionary measures to destroy mosquito breeding points. The department advised the public to avoid water stagnation points in their surroundings to avoid health issues at their home. “This year, viral fevers are on the rise. Any viral infection takes three to four days to feel its impact. The person might feel drop in temperature but he/she needs a week’s rest and intake of more fluids to avoid drop in platelets. Not everyone requires transfusion of platelets if proper care is taken,” said Kalyan, epidemiologist for Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

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