No facility for dengue testing in Kashmir; 21 found positive

‘Health Directorate closely monitoring dengue, jaundice cases’
No facility for dengue testing in Kashmir; 21 found positive
Representational PhotoFile/ GK

Srinagar, Nov 5: J&K Government on Friday said 21 people in Kashmir division, all returning from outside, had been found to be infected with Dengue virus. However, the absence of a testing mechanism in the Government sector is creating hurdles in timely testing and surveillance of the vector-borne disease.

A senior health official said that since Dengue fever is quite rare in Kashmir, the current surge in cases has necessitated more frequent testing of suspected cases. He said all the cases that have been detected have a history of travel to outside of the UT. “We do not have any testing facility in Kashmir division and when we receive a patient with fever

coupled with a history of travel to outside, we order dengue and malaria tests,” the official said. He said that many people skip the test as it is unavailable in any of the government hospitals and only a few laboratories take the samples to get tense tested from outside of the UT. The dengue profile and other tests required for the diagnosis of the disease, he said, costs around Rs 2000.

Epidemiologist J&K, Dr Talat Ghani said the government was aware of the sudden requirement of dengue testing paraphernalia in hospitals and a meeting had recently been convened with senior officials regarding this. “We will soon have a system in place and are tying up with private labs till we have a system in place for the same in Government sector,” she said. Dr Ghani said Rapid Response Teams (RRT) had been constituted in all districts of J&K for helping in early detection and treatment.

Meanwhile, the Government on Friday issued a brief note on situation related to dengue in Kashmir. The statement said 21 people had been found positive in Kashmir, the time frame during which these cases had been detected had not been mentioned though. The majority of cases, 16, were admitted in SKIMS Medical College Hospital Bemina and five were admitted in GMC Baramulla.

The document said training of health staff for surveillance, early diagnosis and prompt treatment will commence today and identification of hospitals from central, south and north Kashmir to be undertaken wherein separate facility for management of dengue cases will be provided. Laboratories in Government Hospitals, it said, will also be augmented for testing.

Earlier this week, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare sent a team of officials and experts to J&K and eight other states for reviewing and supporting the health departments in management of dengue. J&K Government said it was taking aggressive steps for containing the outbreak in Jammu division, where over 1000 cases have been confirmed.

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