The Telegraph
Wednesday , October 31 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dengue adds bite to sting

- Bhagalpur and Patna report most number of cases, minister promises prevention measures

Dengue has dug its teeth in the heart of the capital with 67 positive cases reported since mid-October. However, with 152 positive cases, Bhagalpur — the hometown of health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey — is the worst sufferer till date.

Choubey declared the data on Tuesday at a news meet which was held after a high-level meeting convened jointly by the health, urban development and public health and engineering departments.

According to the report, three people — one in Gaya and two in Siwan — have died because of dengue. Of the 420 suspected cases, 249 have been confirmed positive so far, stated the report.

“Bhagalpur and Patna top the list of places where dengue cases have been reported. We are taking necessary measures to control the spread of the disease in the two cities,” Choubey said.

The minister, however, asserted that there was nothing to worry about as the situation was under control. According to him, the health department is working hard for prevention and cure of the disease.

“Fogging machines have been made available to all government medical colleges and hospitals. The machines are being used across the state, especially in places from where dengue cases have been reported. Moreover, dengue prevention kits have also been given to the government hospitals. The control room is working round-the-clock, where officials are providing details regarding measures against dengue. Medicines, too, have been provided in adequate quantities to the hospitals. All measures have been taken to ensure that the situation doesn’t spiral out of control,” the minister said.

According to Choubey, seven districts — Patna, Bhagalpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Siwan, Munger and Gaya — have reported the most number of dengue cases.

However, according to a report of the health department, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, Choubey’s claims about the government’s active role in controlling the disease could fall flat.

According to the report, fogging machines are not working in Siwan, which has reported two deaths so far. In Vaishali, where six cases of dengue have come to the fore, fogging machines have not been made available. Nawada has also reported two cases of dengue but this district, too, lacks fogging machines.

The report states that there are a few other places where fogging machines have not been provided. Sheikhpura, Rohtas, Jehanabad, Darbhanga are some of the places where the machines have not been provided.

Apart from this, there are places where fogging machines are lying unused. Sheohar, Nalanda, Madhepura, Kishanganj, Khagaria, Katihar, Buxar and Araria are some of the towns where fogging machines are gathering rust, says the report.

Emphasising more on prevention, Choubey said: “Our department would deploy civil surgeons at railway stations across the state. At important stations, where there is more rush during Chhath and Diwali, doctors would be deployed to deal with emergencies. The doctors would provide instant medication.”

Choubey added that doctors would be deployed at Muzaffarpur, Patna and Bhagalpur railway stations immediately.

The minister said kerosene oil is being sprinkled in areas where there is stagnant water. “Patna Municipal Corporation has also been asked to purchase fogging machines,” Choubey said.

In cases of dengue, platelet count in blood comes down quite sharply. Patients require immediate administering of blood. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes usually bite in the daytime.

Crucial count

What is a platelet?

Platelets or thrombocytes are blood cell fragments that are crucial to clotting

Platelets are counted per microlitre of blood

Normal count: 1.5 lakh to 4 lakh
Transfusion necessary: Below 30000


The dengue virus reduces the blood’s ability to produce platelets. Low count can cause internal bleeding and dehydration, which can turn fatal


High fever, shivering, joint pain, nausea, headache

How do you know it’s dengue?

An ideal test for dengue looks for both the antigen (tiny proteins from virus) and
antibody (which fights the virus). “An antigen-antibody combo test allows
diagnosis from Day 1 to Day 30,” said Navin Khanna, a scientist at the Delhi-based International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology who had helped develop a combination test

What is antibody (Mac-Elisa) test?

It looks for two types of antibodies — IgM, indicating recent infection, and IgG, indicating old infection. In a person infected a second time, the antigen and IgM antibody are likely
to disappear within a day after the infection because of the immune system’s memory. But the IgG antibody will be relatively high in secondary infection Preventive measures
lWear trousers and long-sleeve shirts, drink boiled water, use mosquito net while sleeping, stay indoor after sunset  

Where to go for treatment?