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Doctors at AIIMS Delhi Battle Dual Crisis as Dengue Cases Rise amid Surge in Covid-19 Infections

File photo of AIIMS.

File photo of AIIMS.

Doctors at the AIIMS found themselves in a tricky position when a 30-year-old woman, who tested positive for both Covid-19 and dengue, came to the hospital for treatment.

As Delhi reels under the coronavirus pandemic, a surge in the number of dengue cases has doctors battling a dual crisis. What complicates matters is that there is an intersection in the initial symptoms of Covid-19 and dengue. This coupled with overlapping parameters of the two illnesses, has medical professionals struggling to manage the rise in the two infections.

According to an Indian Express report, doctors at the AIIMS found themselves in a tricky position when a 30-year-old woman, who tested positive for both Covid-19 and dengue, came to the hospital for treatment. However, she was successfully cured. The woman had on August 23, visited the hospital’s medical emergency with symptoms like moderate grade fever, chills, body pain, joint pain, and tiredness. But she did not experience any respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, cough and breathlessness.

Doctors at the hospital discovered that her platelet count was low. Because she was having fever, a Covid-19 test was undertaken, which came back positive. Dr Ashutosh Biswas, professor of medicine, AIIMS, told the publication that they were suspecting dengue as well because the patient was having fever, muscle and joint pain, along with low platelet count. Biswas added that the woman has tested positive for dengue NS1 antigen.

However, though in a majority of the cases, the patient tests negative for dengue in five-seven days, the woman remained positive till the tenth day of sickness. “This is an unusual finding in this case. The reason is not clear as to why the infectivity period of dengue (NS1+ve) is increased in the presence of Covid-19 infection in an individual,” Dr Biswas told IE.

The woman was discharged from the hospital after nine days. Over 50 dengue patients were admitted to AIIMS till September this year. Out of these patients, 42 had come in after the coronavirus outbreak surfaced in India. But in some marginal relief, only one among them was discovered to have co-infection. The national capital has till now seen 131 cases of dengue and 114 malaria infections.

“This is a new experience and we expect that dengue is also going to have a similar kind of pathogenesis like Covid. In dengue and Covid-19, almost 80% of patients are asymptomatic. With a change in the season, the number of dengue and Covid cases may increase, and that can be a cause of worry,” added Biswas was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the national capital reported 3,229 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday, pushing the infection tally to over 2.21 lakh, while the death toll mounted to 4,770, authorities said. Twenty-six deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. Prior to this, the city had recorded over 4,000 cases for five days in a row - 4,235 on Sunday, 4,321 on Saturday, 4,266 on Friday, 4,308 on Thursday and 4,039 on Wednesday, news agency PTI reported. Of the total 2,21,533 cases reported in Delhi so far, 1,88,122 have either recovered, been discharged or migrated out, the bulletin said.

first published:September 15, 2020, 12:20 IST