The spike in the number of viral infection cases in Bengaluru has come as a cause of concern for city doctors. Within Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike limits alone, the number of Dengue cases has risen to more than 2,000 since January.
Until Sunday, the number of Dengue cases reported from Bengaluru was 1,991. A revised report will be ready today and we expect the number to be hiked by another 100. While viral fever cases are being reported, there is no spike in a number of Dengue or Chikungunya cases. The situation is not out of control and is as expected in this season," said Dr Lokesh M N, Chief Health Officer, BBMP.
Private practitioners, however, disagree. Private hospitals have reported a spike in the number of viral fever cases and do not want to risk sending away the patient without conducted tests to confirm Dengue.
"Everybody is stretched to our limits. All medical infrastructure, including blood banks, is definitely stretched but we are coping. There has been a considerable increase in viral infection which is common during this season but we are not seeing a raised incidence of Dengue and Chikungunya. Thankfully it is not as debilitating as it was three years ago," said Dr Ramana Rao, Physician, Vikram hospital.
"There has definitely been a spike in the number of cases with people complaining of dengue like symptoms. People generally have a high viral fever accompanied by joints pain, vomiting, respiratory tract or breathing issues, diarrhea, chills or feeling extremely cold and rashes on the body. However, dengue tests proves to be negative in such cases. About 25 - 30 cases have become a daily affair to me in my OPD. Patients are walking with such symptoms. But when patients face severe vomiting, breathlessness, persisting vomiting, falling BP, severe dehydration, we immediately advise hospitalization. There are people with myocardisis which is decrease in heart function and respiratory tract, depending on the condition we admit the patient either in ICU or on emergency and keep them under strict observation," said Dr Pankaj Singhai, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicines, Manipal Hospitals.
Hospitals running out of beds?
While government hospitals are reporting at least 20 cases of viral infection on a daily basis, private hospital and clinics are also seeing a dozen cases every day. Private hospitals are sounding alarm bells and claim that the heavy inflow of patients is resulting in a shortage of beds.
The Karnataka government, however, claimed that shortage of beds was a mere hoax. "Hospitals are not running out of beds, that is only a hoax. There is no such situation in government hospitals but I don't know about private hospitals. Private hospitals prefer to admit even patients who walk in with mere complaints of fever to conduct tests etc," said Ramesh Kumar, Health Minister, Karnataka.
Blood banks stretching to meet demands
Patients are thronging hospitals with Dengue-like symptoms. Viral fever, the onset of rashes, high fever, abnormal pain and vomiting are some complaints that the doctors get to hear on a daily basis. Blood banks are stretching themselves to meet the unusual demand for platelets in the city. The BBMP and the health ministry, however, maintain that there is no shortage of blood, platelets or medicines.
" No dispensaries and hospitals are not being affected. You see a spike in numbers this time around only because surveillance has improved. This means that reporting centres are doing a good job of collecting and filing information as compared to last year. This spike is expected because of the season but it is under control. We also urge people to shoulder some responsibility and be vigil," said Dr Lokesh M N, Chief Health Officer, BBMP.
Doctors ask public to take precautions
Physicians who meet patients every day have been advising them to take precautions. "No precautions have been taken at all, even by the general public. The overall the situation is not ideal," said Dr Ramana Rao.
"People are falling ill all over. We are doing our best and keeping our doctors alert. Drugs are being supplied but this can't be controlled exclusively by the health department. Local bodies, as well as the public, have a role to play. People should do their bit and not expect the government to take care every aspect. Yes, there is a spike in the number of cases and I will not hide it, it is the fact. But we have to work together," said Health Minister Ramesh Kumar.
Do your bit
- Wear clothes that provide full cover
- Get rid of stagnant water in the neighbourhood
- Use mosquito nets, repellents
- Get the civic authority to clean up your neighbourhood