In Jharkhand’s Bokaro district, deaths have reached more than doubled in the last one month and the active cases is the fourth-highest in state. But there is an increasing confusion among people between typhoid and Covid-19, which is often delaying timely treatment. According to doctors, this is due to lack of rural messaging and a fear of going for Covid test.
55-year-old Dharmananth Ravidas is among 36 Covid patients at the Sadar Hospital in Bokaro, but it was only a week ago that the resident of Gomia block was initially diagnosed with typhoid and tested positive after complains of fever and chills. Ravidas’ oxygen saturation also dipped within two days, The Indian Express reported.
Ravidas’s son Manish has doubts. “I don’t understand why the doctor asked for a typhoid test initially when actually he had Covid. Luckily we got him oxygen support on time,” his son said.
In a similar incident, one 57-year-old Ram Swarup Aggarwal was diagnosed with typhoid last month around the same area, but he was soon hospitalised in neighbouring Ramgarh as his condition deteriorated. He died on April 28 with the hospital mentioning the cause of death as Covid.
The confusion was raised with the Chief Minister Hemant Soren by the head of Bundu gram panchayat in Peterwar who said that many people in the villages are dying of typhoid, not Covid.
However, according to doctors there have been several cases of symptomatic patients testing negative for Covid and the typhoid test lacking “specificity and reliability”.
in case of the mother of JMM’s Peterwar block organisation secretary Satyam Prasad, she was initially diagnosed with typhoid and was under treatment for the same, the leader said. But the CT scan showed that she may be going through Covid and her condition deteriorated. “We rushed her to a local nursing home for emergency treatment, but health workers ran away. It was a nightmare. Somehow a doctor friend put her on oxygen support, but she passed away,” he said.
Medical Superintendent Albela Kerketta said that there is a rising trend of people going for typhoid tests. “People seem to be scared of going for Covid test and they find relief when the diagnosis is typhoid, but this is becoming fatal. There needs to be more messaging in the rural areas,” he reportedly said.
The state also lacks basic medical facilities like oxygen-supported beds and even flow metres.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Arun Singh said, “Rising typhoid cases in the rural areas haven’t been discussed officially yet.” One Kumar Satish at a diagnostic centre in the district said that they are witnessing a lot of cases with typhoid and it is hard to come at a number. Now they have shut the lab because Covid-19 cases have increased.