Dengue claims another life in Delhi, government caps tests at Rs.600 (Roundup)

New Delhi: Dengue claimed the life of a 41-year-old woman in the national capital, the 14th victim so far, even though officially the toll stayed at five. The city government, meanwhile, fixed Rs.600 as the maximum any private hospital can charge for dengue tests.

Monika Bahl of Lajpat Nagar area died at Moolchand Hospital of dengue shock syndrome leading to multi-organ failure on Monday morning. Doctors said she was brought to the hospital following fever and vomiting. Her death was reported on Wednesday.

“She was shifted to the ICU three days after admission when she developed respiratory problems. She tested positive for dengue antibody test, which means she had contracted the disease earlier, and this time again,” Srikant Sharma, senior consultant for internal medicine at Moolchand Hospital, told IANS.

Delhi’s civic bodies have so far confirmed only five dengue deaths in the capital and the number of cases as 1,872. However, deaths caused by dengue have gone up to at least 14 as tracked by IANS. Civic bodies tote up the figures officially only on a weekly basis, and release or confirm the deaths only every Monday.

The Delhi government has also asked private hospitals to keep the dengue testing cap at Rs.600.

“We have come to know that private hospitals are overcharging for dengue tests. That is why we’ve decided to fix a cap on these tests for the private hospitals and laboratories. Nobody can charge anything beyond this rate,” said Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

There are three tests for dengue — NS1 antigen test, dengue antibody test and the platelet count test.

The government has fixed a cap of Rs.600 each for the first two tests and Rs.50 for the platelet count test, the minister said.

The state government has also instructed private hospitals to increase their bed count by 10-20 percent within a week.

“If the private hospitals successfully increase the number of beds, there will be an average increase of at least 3,000 beds for patients in the capital. These will be used only for fever and dengue patients and no private hospital should turn away patients,” he said.

On the dengue deaths in the capital, Jain said: “This is not an outbreak but people are in panic. I appeal to the people to try and avoid mosquito bite during day time. People should understand their responsibility. They shouldn’t let water collect in pots, pans, tyres and utensils.”

He also urged people not to indulge in “self medication” and said they should “take medicines only on the prescription of doctors”.

“But they should not pressurise hospitals to get themselves admitted. If a doctor feels a patient needs to be admitted, he will do it,” said Jain.

On the shortage of beds at Safdarjung Hospital, Jain said: “I have spoken to (union Health Minister) J.P. Nadda yesterday (Tuesday) and requested him to look into the matter.”

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders and medical experts trained party volunteers across Delhi on Wednesday so that they could spread awareness on the dengue prevention and treatment.