Following the water deluge on August 29, Mumbaikars are now facing a deluge of Dengue cases. In the first fortnight of September itself, 1,659 suspected cases being treated by government hospitals. Of these, 164 cases have been confirmed through tests. There have been atleast 3 deaths caused by the complications arising out of Dengue. Health experts have advised that those suffering from high grade fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and breathlessness should consult doctors and avoid self medication. It has been observed by Doctors this time that more men are getting infected due to dengue than women.
Among the positive developments in the fight against dengue and malaria is the launch of a rapid and more reliable test kits. Introduced by Transasia Bio Medicals Limited, the ErbaQik kits have been proven to have unmatched specificity (100%) and sensitivity (>92%) for all parameters of dengue and malaria, which makes it the most reliable in India today. Malaria and Dengue diagnosis relies on clinical assessment and serological tests such as Rapid Diagnostic Tests and ELISAs. Rapids are preferred for initial screening because of their advantages such as ease of use, faster reporting of results, limited resource allotment and affordability. ErbaQik Malaria kit competent for diagnostics of malaria will cost Rs. 950 which includes 25 cards each. The ErbaQik Dengue kit is available in the market for 25 cassettes cost Rs. 4250. Per person one card/cassettes can be used for a test.
Dr. Suvin Shetty, Head, Laboratory Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital clarified on the rapid tests that are currently available. He said, “All rapid test kits available in the market today have Gold nanoparticle that are used as conjugate in the test membrane strip. As the sample passes through the strip, the gold particle conjugate creates a coloured test and control band. However, there can be errors in interpretation since both test and controls bands can appear to be of the same colour. This increases the chances of a false result.” The Erba Qik range of rapids for dengue and malaria use two different sizes of gold particles to generate two visually distinct coloured bands for test and control. Using a different size of the gold nanoparticle called as ‘Black Gold’ particle gives ErbaQik rapids a unique dual colour advantage (purple black Test band and red Control band) making them the only bi-colour detection immuno-chromatographic device.
On its part the Health Ministry is taking all efforts to curb the spread of these diseases by creating awareness campaigns on sanitization and propagating the need for early detection. However, currently there is no commercially available vaccine for these diseases.
In recent years, the transmission of both Malaria and Dengue fever has increased predominantly in both the urban and semi-urban areas. New cases as well as recurring outbreaks have been recorded from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Pondicherry and West Bengal. India ranks third in the world having the highest cases of malaria and deaths due to the disease. While Zika virus is a growing concern for the world, dengue and malaria still rule the roost and are yet to see a decrease in occurrence.