| Kite-flying is an NGO's Vishwakarma puja tool to combat dengue. If only a kite carrying dengue dos and don'ts could curb the disease. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
With no records of the 1990 dengue outbreak for reference, city doctors and the state government have been left clueless about how to rein in the disease.
Hopefully, the next time, they will be armed with a dengue management protocol that the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI) has now decided to prepare.
In the absence of a dossier of past cases, confused doctors have so far passed off many dengue cases as simple viral fever or malaria, resulting in complications.
On Friday, the total number of dengue cases crossed 1,600 in the city, with 115 more cases being reported in the past 24 hours.
With that, the Bengal count has soared to 2,587, though the death toll has not risen, officials said.
A delegation of the AHEI, a conglomerate of 12 private hospitals in the city, called on health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra on Friday to inform him of its decision to prepare the dengue protocol.
'The feedback was very encouraging. All our member-hospitals will immediately set about collecting data, analysing trends and checking the treatment procedure in individual cases, before preparing a uniform protocol,' said Sajal Dutta, AHEI president.
'The absence of an evidence-based protocol has had a telling effect on the dengue outbreak in Bengal. In future, whenever doctors have complicated cases of dengue before them, they will have a ready reference and know exactly how to proceed,' Dutta added.
A similar dengue outbreak had left 12 dead in 1990, but the state government had not kept a tab on the numbers and the kinds of cases.
The AHEI delegation also assured the minister of making dengue antigen tests at its member-hospitals available to needy patients at discounted rates. Private hospitals now charge anything between Rs 700 and Rs 1,600 for the test. 'People carrying out-patient department cards from government hospitals can avail of the dengue antigen test for Rs 350 at any of our member-hospitals,' said Dutta.
The high court on Friday expressed its displeasure at the shoddy handling of malaria cases by the administration.
Advocate Pradip Roy had earlier filed a public interest litigation against the government for failing to open the malaria detection and treatment hospital in Kalighat.
The division bench of Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice A.K. Ganguly asked the civic body to state in writing whether a previous court order to open the hospital would be carried out.