M A I N   N E W S

PM’s grandsons hit by dengue
Son-in-law under observation
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
The dengue-causing Aedes Egypti mosquito has landed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s son-in-law and grandsons at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Seventeen-year-old Madhav and his 11-year-old cousin, Rohan, children of Dr Singh’s daughters, have reportedly tested positive for dengue and are being treated at the institute.

One of the Prime Minister’s son-in-law, Mr Ashok Kumar Patnaik, an IPS officer, who was admitted with fever, is also said to be under observation at the institute.

A team of the New Delhi Municipal Council officials belatedly began fogging operations around the Prime Minister’s official residence at 7, Race Course Road, to prevent breeding of mosquitos.

Dr Praveen Aggarwal, Head of Emergency Services at the AIIMS, who was the first to examine Madhav and Rohan in the office of the Medical Superintendent on Tuesday, refused to confirm if the PM’s grandsons actually had dengue. “I don't recollect,” is all he said.

The AIIMS Medical Superintendent and spokesperson, Dr Shakti Kumar Gupta, also refused to confirm if the PM’s family members had been diagnosed with dengue.

“There is no official communication to us on this,” Dr Gupta said. He, however, confirmed two dengue deaths in the AIIMS during last 24 hours. While a 35-year-old man from Mathura died yesterday of dengue, a 14-year-old girl from Meerut died this morning.

Sources in the AIIMS said at least 72 patients diagnosed with dengue were hospitalised in the institute. Of these, 19 were doctors, students and staff members. The remaining 53 were from Delhi, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Mathura, Meerut and Noida.

Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today said nearly 600 cases of dengue had been reported from various parts of the country. Of these, a majority of cases were from the national Capital. Thirty deaths had been reported in the counrtry, including 12 in Delhi.

“There have been 589 dengue cases in the country. In Delhi, 352 cases have been reported while 237 are from other states. Nearly 131 dengue cases have been reported from Uttar Pradesh, 52 from Haryana and nine from Rajasthan.”

The minister reiterated that there was no epidemic and no need to panic.

“ We have a problem and it is a matter of concern. We need to create mass awareness and for that we need public participation. We have roped in school children and the Indian Medical Association for the purpose,” he said.

Mr Ramadoss added there was enough blood and platelets to meet the demand.

According to experts, the number of dengue cases reported in September this year is more than those reported in the corresponding period last year.

Experts say autumn months pose a greater risk as far as dengue is concerned. The breeding of Aedes mosquito stops with the onset of winters, especially when the temperature drops below 20 degree celsius. Water collection following rains becomes a breeding ground for Aedes Egypti. Apart from testing facilities in most of the Central Government and Delhi Government hospitals and some private laboratories, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in North Delhi is also offering testing facilities for the diagnosis of dengue. This includes Elisa Test which takes four to five hours and Rapid Test which takes 15 to 30 minutes.

An expert with the NICD said there was a blood sample test for the IGM antibody which was the first to appear whenever one is exposed to the dengue virus.

“If a person tests positive for presence of an IGM antibody, it confirms that he has been exposed to the dengue virus,” he said. The Senior Resident (Community Medicine) at the AIIMS, Dr Binod Patro, told the TNS that the 1200- member Resident Doctors Association had started a blood donation campaign on the campus. “This is to ensure that there is no shortage of blood and its components to any patient who comes to the AIIMS with fever and dengue. We are ensuring that whole blood is available all the time for everybody.”

Any person who shows symptoms of dengue like high-grade fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscular aches, joint pain and rash is advised to take a blood test.

In the Rapid Test, a 2-ml blood sample is taken. Of this,one drop is used for the test and the rest is used for testing blood components like platelets, haemeglobin, Packed Cell Volume and Total Leucocyte Count.

Dr Patro explains that once a person is confirmed having dengue, the platelet count drops. The first and foremost task is to stabilise his vital organs with intraveinous fluids and monotor the platelet count.

The platelet count should be in the normal range of 1.52 to 4.5 lakh. 50,000 is the cut-off point. If a person has a platelet count of less than 50,000, there are chances of continuous bleeding. In such a condition, immediate blood transfusion is necessary.

Single Donor Platelet Transfusion takes two hours and is required when the platelet count drop is less than 50,000. It helps in increasing the platelet count by 50,000. This cannot be stored beyond five days. The other kind of blood transfusion is Whole Blood Transfusion. This helps in increasing the platelet count by 10,000.



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