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Delhi govt tells hospitals to treat dengue patients foremost

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: The Delhi government advisory has asked city hospitals to postpone non-emergency procedures, including surgeries, to admit and treat dengue patients on priority. The order was issued to both government and private hospitals, telling them that no dengue patient should be turned away because of lack of beds.

dengue-2More than 830 dengue cases have been reported this year, 778 of which happened in August alone. Over 6,000 dengue cases were treated in 2010, and the number reported this year has been highest after in the past five years.

“We have told hospitals not to turn away dengue patients even if it means rescheduling all non-emergency procedures, including surgeries,” said Dr. Charan Singh, in-charge of the vector-borne control programme in the Delhi government. “No health institute, government or private, should refuse dengue patients,” he added.

The government has also asked hospitals to stock their blood banks adequately, and private blood banks have been told to provide platelets at nominal rates. To provide dengue patients with better treatment, government hospitals have also opened dengue and fever words.

“During this time, our medicine wards only admit fever and dengue patients. Still, the beds are not enough. We are forced to admit two-three patients per bed, but even that is not sufficient. We have put up temporary beds on stretchers and mattresses to accommodate patients,” said a senior doctor at Safdarjung Hospital. Doctors said most patients were put on saline drips and their platelet count was monitored. “Treatment is based on symptoms. But we have to admit patients who show signs of their platelet count dropping or those with very high fever and other complications. Patients can visit private hospitals daily and get their platelet count checked, but given the socio-economic profile of our patients, that is not possible,” said the doctor.

However, doctors in private hospitals have a different take saying that, considering the symptoms are mild in comparison to previous years, so the patient need not be admitted.

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Philippines Bans World’s First Dengue Vaccine

Manila banned the sale, import and distribution of the Dengvaxia vaccine in February following the deaths

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Philippines, Ban, Dengue
FILE - Parents of children injected with Dengvaxia vaccine carry pictures of their loved ones as they attend a senate hearing regarding the vaccine at the Senate building in Manila, Philippines, Feb. 21, 2018. VOA

The Philippines stood firm Tuesday on its ban on the world’s first dengue vaccine while declaring a nationwide epidemic from the mosquito-borne disease that it said has killed hundreds this year.

Dengue incidence shot up 98% from a year earlier to 146,062 cases from January 1 to July 20, causing 662 deaths, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a news conference in which he announced a “national dengue epidemic.”

Manila banned the sale, import and distribution of the Dengvaxia vaccine in February following the deaths of several dozen children who were among more than 700,000 people given shots in 2016 and 2017 in a government immunization campaign.

Duque said Thursday the government is studying an appeal to allow French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi to put the vaccine back in the Philippine market, but ruled out using the drug to combat the ongoing epidemic, which has hit small children hard.

Philippines, Ban, Dengue
The Philippines stood firm Tuesday on its ban on the world’s first dengue vaccine while declaring a nationwide epidemic from the mosquito-borne disease. Pixabay

“This vaccine does not squarely address the most vulnerable group which is the 5-9 years of age,” Duque said.

The vaccine, now licensed in 20 countries according to the World Health Organization, is approved for use for those aged nine and older.

Duque said the United Nations agency also advised Manila that the vaccine was “not recommended” as a response to an outbreak, and it was anyway “not cost-effective” with one dose costing a thousand pesos (about $20).

Dengue, or hemorrhagic fever, is the world’s most common mosquito-borne virus and infects an estimated 390 million people in more than 120 countries each year — killing more than 25,000 of them, according to the WHO.

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The Philippines in 2016 became the first nation to use Dengvaxia in a mass immunization program.

But controversy arose after Sanofi disclosed a year later that it could worsen symptoms for people not previously infected by the dengue virus.

The disclosure sparked a nationwide panic, with some parents alleging the vaccine killed their children.

Philippines, Ban, Dengue
Dengue incidence shot up 98% from a year earlier to 146,062 cases from January 1 to July 20, causing 662 deaths, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a news conference. Pixabay

The controversy also triggered a vaccine scare that the government said was a factor behind measles outbreaks that the UN Children’s Fund said have killed more than 200 people this year.

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Duque on Tuesday called on other government agencies, schools, offices and communities get out of offices, homes and schools every afternoon to take part in efforts to “search and destroy mosquito breeding sites”. (VOA)