Home collection of blood samples has gone up manifold across the city and its suburbs as hundreds of people suffering from dengue are being treated at home.
Diagnostic laboratories and hospitals have deployed additional personnel for sample collection from home and are often conducting tests around the clock to let dengue patients, many of whom are panicking, know the blood platelet count.
On Tuesday, 932 fresh dengue cases were reported from across West Bengal, the state health department said.
Chief secretary H.K. Dwivedi held a video conference during the day with the authorities of Kolkata, Howrah, North 24-Parganas and Hooghly, the four districts that together account for the maximum number of dengue cases being reported from West Bengal.
“Additional teams have already been deployed in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation area to intensify the vector-control drive, which includes spraying of larvicide,” said an official of the state health department.
“Now, additional rounds of home visits have been planned for affected urban areas.”
Despite the meetings and measures, there is no respite from dengue fear, said doctors and officials of health-care units.
“Home collection of blood samples has doubled in the past one-and-a-half months. We have deployed additional personnel to collect samples from people’s homes,” said Subhasish Datta, chief general manager, Ruby General Hospital.
The hospital, he said, used to collect around 25 blood samples a day from neighbouring areas. Now, it is collecting more than 50.
“One advantage for the blood platelet count test is that the patients do not need to fast. So, our collectors are going to patients’ homes even in the evenings,” Datta said.
Suraksha Laboratories on certain days collects as many as 90 blood samples from home, up from 20 to 30 a couple of months ago, said an official of the diagnostic facility.
The tests for dengue or suspected dengue patients include NS1 antigen test for the virus, repeat tests, and tests for the blood platelet and haematocrit levels.
Chandramouli Bhattacharya, infectious disease expert at Peerless Hospital, said for those dengue patients who are being treated at home, the blood platelet and haematocrit levels are tested usually from the fourth or fifth day after the onset of fever.
“The test should be done every day till the levels start going up again,” he said. “If the platelet count goes below the danger level, I am asking the patient to get admitted to hospital,” said Bhattacharya.
Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless Hospital, said they had to conduct tests at odd hours, too, because people are requesting for the results within a few hours.
“Many dengue patients and their family members are panicking and they are requesting for the results as early as possible,” he said.
Several hospitals have set up helplines to receive requests for home collection of blood samples.