Dengue Fuels Demand for Platelets in Visakhapatnam

With sudden spurt in dengue and viral fevers in the district, the blood banks are striving hard to ensure stock of platelets. The challenge is unlike blood, its component platelet has the shelf life of five days. Hence, the blood banks keep platelet units when there is a demand or mostly monsoon when dengue cases surge. This is also the reason that the shortage of platelets is witnessed sometimes when the dengue cases reported going beyond the expectation of blood banks. The city has five licenced blood banks for blood component separation. Platelets are transfused into a patient when their count is less than 10,000.

Speaking to The Hans India, Indian Red Cross Society Blood Bank (Visakhapatnam) secretary K V R K Raju said the blood bank was issuing 10-20 platelet units per day alone from last two weeks. “We are striving hard to keep stock of platelets. As this is the season where the demand remains high for platelets, we are planning accordingly. There will not be any problem if the doctors recommend platelet whenever there is urgency.  When there is a need of platelet, we are first issuing the reserved one without any delay asking to arrange donors so that the cycle continues.”

The recent increase in demand because of dengue and the relative shortage of platelets has forced the district health administration to advice blood banks to issue blood component after inquiring patient’s condition. The plan is to provide the scarce component to a patient who requires it urgently. District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) Ronanki Ramesh, who monitors the blood banks, said he had asked the blood banks to stock enough platelets. “Scarcity is found only sometimes when the private hospitals prescribe transfusion of platelets even when it is avoidable. They should wait and watch for some time rather going for transfusion,” he added. – The Hans India

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