Elisa diagnostic kits from Pune’s NIV on display at MGM Medical College in Dimna on Wednesday. (Animesh Sengupta)
The integrated diseases surveillance programme (IDSP) unit of East Singhbhum received on Wednesday the much-awaited Elisa diagnostic kits — one set each for encephalitis (cerebral malaria), dengue and chikungunya — from National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.
Jolted by three cerebral deaths in 48 hours and last year’s chikungunya outbreak fresh in memory, East Singhbhum health department officials said they were on high alert. “We are doing all we can in terms of early detection and confirmation of vector-borne diseases,” said assistant chief medical officer Swarn Singh, also the IDSP officer for the district.
He added that the Elisa test kits for the three vector-borne diseases came on Wednesday afternoon from Pune with a stopover in Ranchi. They are at present kept at the microbiology unit of MGM Medical College at Dimna.
Each kit can take up to 96 tests. The three sets were routed through state surveillance programme office, Ranchi.
“Tests for the three diseases will be held under supervision of microbiology department head A.C. Akhoury at the hospital,” said Swarn Singh.
He warned that these specialised diagnostic kits for encephalitis, chikungunya and dengue were neither available in the market nor in any healthcare hub of Jamshedpur.
“We will write letters to all government and private hospitals and nursing homes in the district to let us know immediately about patients with symptoms of any of these three diseases so that we can collect samples for the Elisa test at MGM,” Singh said.
Health centres across East Singhbhum have also been asked to provide a list of patients with symptoms on a 24-hour basis. Called a line list, it will contain the name, age, sex and full address of every patient undergoing treatment at any health centre.
“This will help us keep tabs on individual patients as well as gauge the severity of the situation and pinpoint mosquito breeding hubs for preventive measures,”Singh added. Safety measures include bleaching powder, DDT and anti larvicidal sprays in areas identified on the basis of data of patients at health centres.
The alarming spread of diarrhoea spurred the district health department to start an exclusive helpline number 0657-2235836. Callers with information will help surveillance teams reach out to patients.