New Delhi: Differentiating between dengue, malaria and viral fever, which have similar symptoms, will be easier now as Indian doctors in collaboration with a Russian lab have developed a software which, it is claimed, not only detects accurately, but also saves time and is economical.
A team of doctors from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) in New Delhi and Lab Tech Ltd in St Petersburg, Russia have developed analyser software programs that would help in faster and accurate detection of the tropical illness.
"It would also reduce the cost of treatment for the patients and minimise the use of antibiotics. Presently, doctors can't differentiate between the three tropical illness as they have to common symptoms of high grade fever, chill, loss of appetite and fall in platelet count," said Manorama Bhargava, chairperson, Department of Haematology, SGRH.
A research paper by Bhargava, who led the team of doctors, has been published in 15 June edition of International Journal of Laboratory Haematology - the official journal of the International Society for Laboratory Haematology.
She said dengue, malaria and other viral infections peak in northern India around the monsoon and post monsoon seasons.
Due to the similarity of symptoms, doctors prescribe a battery of diagnostic tests and also begin treatment with antibiotics for all three illness till a specific diagnosis is made.
"This leads to escalation in treatment costs, as diagnostic tests costs around Rs 6,000 and also use of unnecessary antibiotics, which leads to antibiotics resistance in the patients," she said.
Explaining about the research, Bhargava said the study was conducted between April 2010 to March 2011 on 324 samples of patients suffering from dengue, malaria as well as other illnesses that mimic the two.
The aim was to study haematological and volume, conductivity and strata (VCS) indices to generate algorithms that Laboratory Information System (LIS) could use to detect infected samples for further testing, thereby giving faster diagnosis and enabling judicious utilisation of laboratory resources, she added.