Days after a man in Krishnagiri district tested positive for Zika virus, private hospitals in Tamil Nadu have been asking for grant of licence for screening of the virus in their laboratories but the state government seems hesitant.
The government has received various complaints in the past stating that private hospitals often ask patients to undergo unnecessary and expensive tests and this is the reason it is reluctant to grant the licence.
A health department official told The New Indian Express that some private hospitals had contacted them for a licence to screen Zika virus but the official said that if the license is granted, some private hospitals might misuse it to fleece patients.
Dr K Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health said that there was no need to bring in private hospitals in the current situation. Moreover, all the fever cases cannot be screened for Zika and there is a certain protocol stipulated by the World Health Organisation which needs to be followed. He added that clinical diagnosis is more important before going ahead with laboratory confirmation, reported TNIE.
As per protocol, patients with complaints of fever and fatigue are to be tested for diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, malaria, jaundice, typhoid and leptospirosis. If doctors observe symptoms similar to dengue or chikungunya but tests are negative, blood samples are sent for the Zika test.
A 27-year-old man from Krishnagiri district tested positive for the virus and officials told The News minute that he was recovering from it.
The state health secretary had said that the patient was first reported to the Anchetty primary health centre with complaints of fever and joint pain on June 29.
"He tested negative for dengue and chikungunya. So as per practice we sent his blood samples to Manipal Centre of Virus research and to National Institute of Virology in Pune," state health secretary Radhakrishnan had told TNM. Then the test results confirmed that the man had contracted Zika virus.
Zika is a viral disease which is transmitted by the Aedes Egypti mosquito. According to ToI, these insects breed by laying eggs near standing water in buckets, pots, and vases, mostly in areas of habitation.