Even as dengue continues unabated, erratic temperature fluctuations are resulting in changes in disease patterns as well, say doctors.
While fever, fall in platelet count, joint pain are typically symptoms of dengue, doctors say many patients with such symptoms are testing negative for dengue. Doctors say this indicates a rise in cases of atypical viral fever and are cautioning people not to panic and suspect dengue in the presence of symptoms alone.
“For the last two years, we are seeing such cases of atypical viral fever during this season in the city. Patients showing dengue-like symptoms are testing negative when specific antibody tests like IgG, IgM are conducted on them.
“While no special medical treatment is required for patients with atypical viral fever, people should be cautious against jumping to conclusions like dengue. This is especially a problem this season since dengue cases are unusually high and that’s why there is a scare of dengue fever in people’s minds,” said Dr Avinash Bhondwe, past-president of Indian Medical Association, Pune.
Confirming the rise in cases of atypical viral fever, physician Dr Vivek Billampelly said that since symptoms are similar, it could sometimes confuse doctors as well as patients.
“That’s why it is important to correlate our clinical observation with conducting tests at an early stage. A low platelet count and fever may not necessarily indicate dengue, it could also be a viral infection which isn’t dangerous. But since the symptoms are same, it has caused fear among patients and doctors resulting in unnecessary panic,” said Dr Billampelly.
He added that merely checking the platelet count wouldn’t suffice to substantiate or rule out dengue.
“Instead of going for platelet count everyday, newer tests such as NS1 antigen should be done on priority in the first week of illness, if there is any suspicion of dengue. If it tests negative and even after 5 to 7 days of treatment, symptoms of viral fever do not subside, the test could be repeated,” he added.