| A patient at Patna Medical College and Hospital on Monday. Picture byAshok Sinha |
Two government agencies are unable to agree over the exact number of dengue patients in the state casting a shadow on the vector-battle plan.
While the health department informs that there are 19 patients all over the state, Patna civil surgeon’s office claims that there are 26 patients in the district itself.
An official at the office of civil surgeon’s office said: “At present, there are 26 dengue patients at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). Private hospitals have also reported 27 cases. But only the cases that the PMCH are confirmed cases of dengue because the patients have undergone Elisa tests there. In the private health hubs, patients have been diagnosed through the rapid diagnostic test on which we don’t have any faith.”
Elisa or the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test — popularly used to detect HIV — uses colour change to identify an antigen.
At the health department, though, the data regarding the numbers is completely different.
Jagdish Singh, deputy director, malaria, said: “There are 19 dengue patients in the state. In Rohtas, 14 people have been detected positive for dengue. Patna, Arwal, Gaya, Gopalganj and Jehanabad have one patient each.”
Singh is responsible for keeping tabs on all vector-borne diseases.
Asked how there was such a wide disparity between the two agencies about the numbers, he said he would call up his counterparts in the civil surgeon’s office to find out.
While they could not agree about the data, both the agencies claimed that they had taken sufficient preparation to check the spread of the disease.
The official of the district civil surgeon’s office said: “We have asked the auxiliary nurse and midwives, who are working closely with the patients, that if they find any person with the symptoms of the disease, that person has to be brought to the nearest primary health centre for a check-up.”
The district civil surgeon’s office has also started distributing pamphlets containing information about the disease and preventive measures.
“We are also making people aware of the symptoms of the disease through the advertisement in the local TV channels,” the official said.
Deputy director, malaria, Singh said: “The highest number of dengue cases have been reported from Kochas — a town in Rohtas. We have made arrangements for fogging machines for the town to kills the disease-bearing mosquitoes and larva. One fogging machine has been brought from Aurangabad to Kochas.”
He said there was no vaccination for the disease. “The only way to prevent is by checking the population of the mosquitoes in check. So, we are focussing on fogging to check the spread of the disease.”
Asked what measures have been taken to check the diseases in other districts, Singh said: “We shall purchase fogging machines for other districts also. The process has begun.”