KATHMANDU, Oct 28: At a time when the number of dengue patients is on the rise, the government has not been able to provide a sufficient number of kits to test for the virus.
According to the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) under the Department of Health, 521 persons were detected with the dengue virus in 16 districts of the country since July till October 26. However, no death has been reported from the infections.
“The stock of test kits is not enough to meet demand from the districts,” said Dr Bhim Acharya, director at EDCD. “However, the testing of suspected and serious cases has not been halted for lack of kits,” he added. “The kits were used to test even minor fevers [for possible dengue infection], thus causing the shortage. They are now not available for patients suffering minor fevers.”
The stock of kits, which were brought from the US last year, is about to be exhausted. “We are now in the process of bringing more of them,” said Dr Acharya. The per kit cost is Rs 350 to 500. “We can also bring kits from India if they are made by reliable companies.” he added.
Dr Acharya further said that the government has just dispatched the kits to public hospitals in Chitwan and Jhapa. “We sent them enough kits but not as many as they asked for,” he claimed, without divulging details about quantity.
The Ministry of Health has launched a 'search and destroy' mission after the dengue spread to 16 districts.
The highest number of cases is in Chitwan, with 367cases till Tuesday, and followed by Jhapa with 122 cases till Wednesday. Some of the cases are among health workers.
Symptoms usually begin about four to seven days after the initial infection. Symptoms generally last for about 10 days and can include:
Ø sudden, high fever (up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit)
Ø severe headache
Ø swollen lymph glands
Ø severe joint and muscle pains
Ø skin rash (appearing between two and five days after the initial fever)
Ø mild to severe nausea
Ø mild to severe vomiting
Ø mild bleeding from the nose or gums
Ø mild bruising of the skin
Ø febrile convulsions