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Black hole of dengue death data in West Bengal

We do send information to government, say Kolkata hospitals; no data sent to National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control since June

Sanjay Mandal | Published 04.11.22, 07:27 AM
Representational Image

Representational Image

Several hospitals in Kolkata said on Thursday that they provide data on dengue deaths to the state government just like they do for Covid, but the health department is not passing on the information to the public. 

Health department officials have given two reasons for not updating the number of dengue deaths this year: such information can trigger panic and a review of deaths reported by hospitals is underway.

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The Telegraph reported on Thursday that the state government was not providing data on the deaths and demarcation of zones reporting the maximum number of dengue cases.

Most states are sending data on dengue cases and deaths to the National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control, under the health ministry. But West Bengal has not provided any data since June, officials of the institute said.

“For dengue-related deaths, we are providing the entire treatment sheet along with the dengue test results. This is the protocol we follow while reporting the death of a Covid patient, too,” said a senior official of a private hospital in Kolkata, where more than two dengue patients have died since September.

“In case of dengue, at least on one occasion, an official of the health department came and examined all the documents. It included the treatment sheet and test results.”

At another private hospital, where two patients have died in two months, the CEO said there was no query about the deaths from the health department.

“That means they were satisfied with the documents we have provided to the health department,” said the CEO.

“Based on the reports of the NS1 or IgM test, which are regarded as confirmatory tests for dengue, we say someone is suffering from dengue,” he said.

A senior official of the state health department said on Thursday that they were reviewing reports of dengue deaths sent by hospitals from across West Bengal. 

“There are serious problems with some reports. In some cases, we have seen the reports are IgG-positive. That means, the patient had dengue in the past, not recently. We are investigating each death,” he said.

However, one public health expert pointed out that the health department could have published the data on confirmed dengue deaths.

The CEO of a private hospital said that for Covid, team doctors from the health department would visit the hospital to find out whether the treatment protocol was being followed. For dengue, there has been no such visit this year.

“The treatment protocol for Covid has undergone several changes since the pandemic broke out. But the treatment protocol for dengue has remained the same for years. Probably that is the reason why health department officials are not visiting us,” the CEO said.

Last updated on 04.11.22, 09:44 AM
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