Doctors are asking all patients running a temperature for more than two days to undergo a dengue test, along with other routine tests, an indication of how widespread the disease has become in the city.
About 600 fresh dengue cases were reported in the city last week.
A doctor said he was asking all his patients who were having fever for more than two days to get tested for dengue, which is caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
“The condition of dengue patients can turn critical any moment and complications can even lead to death. So it is necessary to know whether a fever patient is carrying the dengue virus or not,” the paediatrician said.
A few months back, doctors were asking patients with fever to get a Covid test done first. Now, patients, too, are asking doctors whether the symptoms they were presenting were suggestive of dengue or not, the doctor said.
Laboratories have reported a rise in the number of dengue tests. At Suraksha, about 125 dengue tests are being done every day.
About two months ago, only about 30 tests were being performed daily. The number of dengue tests at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s (KMC) laboratories, too, has increased significantly in the last few weeks.
“Dengue test has now become a routine test for any fever. Almost all doctors are advising patients running a fever to get the dengue test done,” said Somnath Chatterjee, director of Suraksha Laboratories.
“There are so many samples that we have to process them thrice a day. The tests take about four hours to produce results. We try to give the reports the same day the sample is drawn,” said Chatterjee.
Chandramouli Bhattacharya, an infectious disease specialist at Peerless Hospital, stressed the need to ask patients with fever to get tested for dengue.
“It is better to get a dengue test done if the fever does not subside within two days and there is no obvious symptom that makes it clear the fever is not because of dengue,” said Bhattacharya.
“Dengue can be fatal if not treated properly and on time. I am asking patients to undergo dengue and malaria tests if fever does not subside in two days.”
Dengue accounts for the maximum number of fever cases, Bhattacharya said.
“A good number of people are testing positive for malaria, too.”
A doctor who treats patients at a primary health centre of the KMC said: “The civic body has issued a guideline that requires doctors to advise patients with fever for more than two days to get tested for dengue and malaria.”