New Delhi: The central government is considering a ban on the sale of rapid dengue diagnostic test kits for their “non-reliable” test results. “We have been holding talks with experts of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Soon we may come out with a notification banning the use and sale of Rapid Card Test (RCT) used for detection of dengue as they are not reliable,” Jagdish Prasad, Director General, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told reporters here today.
The Union Health Ministry has also decided to seek reports from hospitals in Delhi including AIIMS, RML and Safdarjung to ensure that there is no “fudging” of dengue numbers reported in the national capital.
The decision comes amidst reports that the Delhi government is deliberately underplaying the number of dengue cases and not giving out proper figures. “We recommend ELISA based IgM kits provided by National Institute of Virology (NIV) at 499 Sentinel surveillance hospitals and 15 Apex Referral Laboratories to facilitate free diagnosis,” Prasad said.
The official noted that Elisa method is “sensitive, specific and reliable” while rapid dengue antigen test or on-the-spot test which gives result in an hour, may provide false results and ultimately lead to inaccurate treatment. In Elisa method, it takes six to seven hours for the results to come out. As per the guidelines of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), NS1 Elisa test is considered reliable for confirmation of dengue infection, he said.
The Ministry has also asked AIIMS, RML Hospital, Safdarjung hospital, Lady Hardinge hospital, GB Pant and Lok Nayak hospitals for the number of dengue cases reported and the number of deaths due to the disease. “Since there have been allegations that the Delhi government is underplaying the dengue figures, I will seek reports from major individual hospitals,” Prasad said.
According to the Ministry, in Delhi, the number of dengue cases reported this year till September 5 has reached 1,259 while two persons have succumbed to it.