West Bengal Dengue Update: Mamata blames docs and private hospitals for dengue scare

Amid a scare over dengue outbreak, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out against a section of doctors for allegedly mentioning dengue in death certificates even in cases of heart attacks or strokes. "Some doctors are making no attempt at diagnosis. They are not conducting proper tests. And they are writing dengue in the death certificates, even when the deaths have been caused by cardiac failure or strokes," she told reporters at the state secretariat. Alleging that "some elements" were trying to create panic, she claimed the disease had struck all over India and the situation was far better in West Bengal.

She reeled off figures to buttress her point. Till August this year, 1,869 patients were down with the disease in Karnataka, 2,683 in Kerala and 4,675 in Tamil Nadu. While 39 people died in Tamil Nadu, the casualty was 17 in Karnataka and nine in Kerala. "In contrast, 638 people were afflicted with dengue in West Bengal, which recorded three deaths," she said. However, unofficial sources have put the dengue toll at 21 in West Bengal. Banerjee said the non-structural protein-1 (NS-1) tests did not conclusively prove existence of dengue. "If this test result is positive, that does not mean dengue...we have now decided to go for the more advanced NS-1 Elisa tests for determining dengue."

"Within two days we will get the kits. Then we would determine dengue within two days," she said. Banerjee said she paid a surprise visit to the state-owned Seth Sukhlal Karnani Memorial Hospital in the morning and was told that three-four people had reported with fever since the start of the out-patient department (OPD) hours. The new dengue detection kits would be used from Wednesday, she said. Responding to the opposition charge that the situation was spinning out of control, the chief minister said in 2005 during the Left Front regime 6,273 people got afflicted with dengue, of whom 34 died. The chief minister also attacked nursing homes and private hospitals saying "some of them" were doing good business by encashing on the people's fears about dengue.

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"The nursing homes and private hospitals are not in my control. I can only make an appeal to them that they should take a humane approach in treating the patients going to them with fever. The tests should be done quickly and they should ascertain the economic condition of the patients before billing," she said.

Didi says no dieting...

She also advised the youth to avoid going on a controlled diet as it lowers the immunity system and leads to ailments like dengue.

"I appeal to all of you, my young friends, not to go on diet, especially during the current season. Because, when you go on diet, your immunity system goes down, and you may be struck by diseases like dengue," she said, at the state secretariat Writers' Buildings.

"Keep on hold your crash diet plans. Eat plenty of food, take plenty of water," she said, while briefing newspersons about the dengue outbreak in the state. The number of confirmed dengue cases in West Bengal has shot up to at least 643, with 80 percent of the patients residing in Kolkata and its adjoining North 24 Parganas district. The disease has claimed at least three lives so far.

Source: IANS

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