The actual number of dengue deaths in the city between September and October is still unclear, and while Sassoon Hospital authorities confirmed two persons succumbed to the virus, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials claim there has only been one. The officials say that the actual figure would only be known once a death audit report is prepared.
According to the old circular issued by the Centre in 2003, cases testing positive at National Institute of Virology (NIV) or after using the NIV dengue determination kit, should be considered as confirmed dengue patients. Out of the five-dengue deaths in the city, NIV-testing confirmed two patients as positive. However, PMC is unaware that there was a second death.
“There has been only one death, which was confirmed as a dengue death and four others were suspected cases,” said Somnath Pardeshi, acting health officer, PMC. On the other hand Dr D B Kadam, HOD of the Medicine Department, Sassoon General Hospital said, “There are two confirmed dengue deaths till date. Laxman Jadhav who died on October 24 in Sassoon, tested positive and Ajagari Begum Rehman Shaikh’s report was also positive. However, the report came only after she succumbed.
Change in counting
Till last year, the PMC was counting deaths on the basis of those tested positive by NIV-testing, but from this year the civic body has started recording cases tested positive at private laboratories as well. Top officials from the health department of PMC and regional directors are claiming that there is a possibility of false reports from private labs, because of the testing kits they are using.
As per NIV, only NIV manufactured dengue detection kits should be used for testing as the kits used by private labs may be misleading in a few cases “NIV has manufactured kits using antigen and antibodies from dengue-affected Indians, while other manufacturers are using antigen and antibodies from foreign nationals. So dengue detection by the private laboratory may results into false detection in a few cases,” A C Mishra, director of NIV, said. Senior Regional Director of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Maharashtra region, D D Malekar said, “NIV manufactured kits are recommended by the government. That’s why confirmation should be done at NIV.”
He added that the dengue situation in the city is under control and the numbers of suspected cases is increasing because of the numerous reports collected from private labs this year.
Meanwhile, PMC officials are appealing to those who were tested at various laboratories in the city to undergo another dengue determination test in 15 days. A doctor from Sasoon hospital said, “Dengue confirmation can also done by another test after a fortnight, as the antibodies increase fourfold during this period and can be detected by immunoglobulin, which are basically antibodies produced in the human body.”
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