Via The Times of India: Encephalitis outbreak: Blood samples flood hospital lab. Excerpt:
JALPAIGURI: A day after North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb announced opening of fever clinics at seven district hospitals, the diagnostics laboratory at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) was flooded with samples.
It was evident by late afternoon that the facility was woefully inadequate to handle the kind of volume that the fever clinics had begun generating. Lab technicians have started asking for temporary assistance to tide over the crisis. Over 1,000 samples arrived at NBMCH on the very first day.
Hospital superintendent Amarendra Nath Sarkar admitted the pressure on the laboratory had increased manifold. "This is an additional burden but we have to deal with it. We cannot let the samples lie unexamined as lives depend on them," he said.
On Monday, Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital alone tested 113 blood samples. "Luckily, there was no malaria found and on examining patients we found they were not positive to encephalitis either," said Susanta Roy, superintendent of Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital. On Tuesday the hospital sent the sample of a child to NBMCH. The kid is suspected to be suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome.
Meanwhile, four more persons died at NBMCH, taking the toll to 59 in 19 days. A two-member team from the National Institute of Virology, Pune visited NBMCH on Tuesday headed by scientist DV Tandane.
The team has come to investigate the cause of the encephalitis in the region and will collect urine, stool and blood from patients and examine them at the laboratory in Pune.