Nearly 50% of dengue patients died as they delayed treatment
Mumbai: In an analysis of dengue deaths this monsoon, it has emerged that a delay in seeking appropriate treatment has claimed nearly as many as lives as the disease itself. An audit of the 14 dengue deaths this year has revealed that in at least six cases, the patients died within 12 hours of hospitalisation. A few more succumbed in less than a day. In all such cases, there was involvement of the vital organs along with internal bleeding by the time the patient reached the hospital, underlining that the disease had reached an advanced stage with complications. Dengue fever is generally self-limiting and rarely fatal. Without complications, fatality is seen in less than 2% of cases. With complications, it can go up by 10-20%. In Mumbai, though the fatality rate this year was well within the scientifically accepted range of 2%, the audit shows that many deaths could have been prevented. “There are cases where complications may be inevitable like when patients are infected with multiple types of dengue or suffer from its severe forms such as dengue haemorrhagic fever or shock syndrome. But deaths, where complications are caused by delay, is regrettable as they can be prevented,” said a civic official. “When a patient dies within hours of admission, it could mean that 5-7 crucial days of treatment have been lost.” Of the 14 deaths this year, three were in the Paediatric age-group. The age bracket of 30-44 saw the maximum of five deaths. A typical case was that of a 42-year-old Agripada resident who consulted a private physician after 10 days of suffering from fever, chills and weakness.
On finding a low platelet count, the doctor referred him to a higher centre, but the patient stayed home. He died within 20 hours of hospitalisation. Infectious disease expert Dr Om Srivastava said: “It is important for people to understand that delay has a huge impact on outcome of treatment. Often, once a patient reaches a critical stage involving more than one organ such as kidney, the condition becomes irreversible”. Experts said it was time to start looking at people’s treatment-seeking behaviour with viral infections and seasonal diseases. This monsoon, for instance, dengue-like-illnesses accounted for over 10,000 hospitalisations. Dengue was second only to fever-related admissions. “The situation is intriguing as dengue is also one of the diseases that strike fear and so people rush to doctors and insist on hospitalisation. While delay in seeking treatment may be true, one must also look at referral systems and education of primary and secondary physicians to identify and treat,” said a senior official from National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme. The specialist said timely referrals can make or break cases in states like Maharashtra where all four serotypes of dengue circulate and more cases may see complications. This year, the state recorded 8,192 dengue cases and 44 deaths. A state official said it needs to be studied how soon a patient goes to a doctor after onset of symptoms and if it differs from an urban to a rural patient.
Food company cuts waste at Airport Lounges, saves Rs.1.2 crores
Mumbai: Garbage though it may be, crores can be saved simply by studying the contents of dustbins at airport lounges, cafes and food outlets, it seems. Last year, a delayed flight had the chief operating officer (COO) of the food and beverages firm that runs GVK lounge at Mumbai airport don a pair of gloves and rummage through a bin on the premises to find out why it had spilled over. The bin revealed the peculiar eating habits of frequent flyers who hit the free lounge buffet before hopping on to their late-night international flights. In the months that followed, the firm brought about changes in the way food was presented at various lounges to reduce wastage. A year later, the firm realized that the decision to dive into the bin was an “open sesame” moment as it had saved Rs 1.2 crore through changes made to the desserts section alone. This April, the firm turned “Dustbin Analysis” into a quarterly feature to be undertaken at its 280 food outlets across 19 cities, including lounges in airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. The annual target: Savings of Rs 4-5 crore through dustbin speak alone. “The bin at the GVK lounge was full of barely eaten desserts,” said Gaurav Dewan, COO and business head, Travel Food Services (TFS). The dinner buffet had 15 desserts on offer that night. “Each passenger would pick two or three, maybe even four. They would eat a spoon or half and throw the rest. By then, my Muscat flight was announced and I had to leave,’’ he said. He returned and ordered a three-day survey. Lounge passengers were asked about the food and desserts and found the problem was not with taste but size.
The kitchen team reworked the menu to introduce small-sized desserts such as tiny cupcakes, macrons, donuts and meringues. “Earlier, we offered 15 desserts in the lounge. Now, we offer 18 but small portions. Our dustbin waste has reduced, spoilage has reduced, cost has reduced. We saved Rs 1.2 crore in a year’s time from the five lounges at Mumbai airport in the desserts category alone,” said Dewan. “Now, it’s become a religion. We’ve found lot of money in various locations. We target to save Rs 4-5 crore through this alone”. Dustbins of outlets where people pay for food speak a different language though. “Through bins used by customers we learn what food item is not doing well while kitchen bins reveal what has been overproduced,” he said. Then again, dustbins revealed that 80% sandwiches they sold were served grilled. “The staff would bin the packaging, grill the sandwich and serve it on a plate. So we eradicated the packaging,” he said. At all 70 coffee shops TFS runs, sandwiches, rolls and quiches are displayed sans plastic wrapping in a temperature-controlled cabinet. “It makes the food visually appealing. Sandwiches come wrapped in butter paper in bulk containers from where these are removed and displayed in the cabinet. Butter paper wraps are bio-degradable. Each of the earlier sandwich packaging cost around Rs 7. We sell close to a million sandwiches a year. That’s Rs 70 lakh saving only on packaging. Butter paper cost us 25 paisa,’’ he said.
Wanted gangster opens fire at police team, escapes
New Delhi: Residents of Ghazipur woke up to a fierce gun battle that broke out between Ashok Pradhan gang and Special Cell sleuths in the early hours of Sunday. While Pradhan managed to flee, despite a km-long foot chase, his man Friday was severely injured. The gangsters fired at least eight shots at the police team, who in retaliation fired six. Two policemen were hit on the chest, but were saved due to bulletproof jackets. Five of Pradhan’s members were arrested in a case of kidnapping for Rs 10 crore ransom in Agra a few months ago. Since then, the gang had been hiding at a flat in New Ashok Nagar. Cops have now intensified their hunt for Pradhan, who has a reward of Rs 2 lakh on him and is on the top 10 wanted list. Pradhan’s right hand man, Vinod Pandit (40), is a notorious shooter who was earlier a key henchman of slain gangster Neetu Dabodia. After Dabodia was killed in police encounter in 2013, Pandit joined Pradhan’s gang. He has since been involved in over 20 cases of murder, extortion, robberies and kidnappings, police said. “Inspector Shiv Kumar’s team received inputs about Pradhan and Pandit coming to paper market in Ghazipur around 4.30am on Sunday and laid a trap.
Two persons riding a bike were spotted around 4.20am and flagged down. However, the pillion rider, Pradhan, fired two shots at the police team,” DCP (special cell) Pramod Kushwaha said. SIs Hardwari Lal and head constable Mohit came in the line of fire and got shot on their vests. The police retaliated and opened fire. Pradhan, however, continued firing, while police team moved ahead and fired multiple shots forcing Pradhan to run on foot. “The other team members then chased him down, but he managed to escape in the dark. Kumar dialed 100 and requested for a PCR van, which reached the spot and rushed Pandit to the LBS Hospital,” DCP Kushwaha added. A semi-automatic pistol of 0.32 calibre with a live cartridge in the chamber was recovered from the spot apart from eight empty shells. Later, doctors recovered five more bullets from Pandit’s jeans pocket. His bike was found stolen from Ghaziabad. Recently, five of Pradhan’s henchmen were arrested by the Agra Police for planning a kidnap of a businessman for Rs 10 crore ransom. Pradhan had tasked Pandit to avenge the murder of his brother, who was killed by jailed gangster Neeraj Bawana’s members. The target was a woman close to Bawana.
Survey: 20% goods sold online are fake, fragrances top list
Bengaluru: One of five products sold on e-commerce platforms are counterfeit, and the chances of a fake are highest for cosmetics and fragrances, says a survey by citizen engagement platform Local Circles. The survey, shared exclusively with TOI, had a sample size of about 30,000. To Local Circles’ question whether they had received counterfeit products in the previous six months, 20% said they had. A small percentage also said they wouldn’t know whether what they received was fake. Asked which e-commerce site ships the highest percentage of fake goods, 37% of respondents said Snapdeal, 22% said Flipkart, 21% Paytm Mall and 20% Amazon. On which product categories see the most fakes, 35% of respondents said fragrances, a similar percentage said cosmetics, 22% said sporting goods, and 8% bags. The last two questions offered four options each and respondents had to choose from them. TOI sent questions on the issue to all the four major ecommerce companies. All responded saying they have a strict policy to stop the sale of fake goods and even offer free refunds to users. Some said they delist sellers once it’s proven they shipped fake goods. E-tailers said they train their sellers to counter the issue. Counterfeits are a major challenge globally, too, for online players like Alibaba and Amazon. It’s especially so for those who operate a marketplace with third-party sellers on a big scale. The US government had asked Alibaba group affiliates to arrest the rise of counterfeit goods that were being shipped to America.
The survey comes in the final leg of the festive season sale. It’s a time when e-commerce channels are in fierce competition to show high sales. Industry analysts say this is an environment conducive for unscrupulous sellers. India’s drug regulator recently sent notices to leading e-commerce platforms for allegedly selling spurious cosmetic products. Fakes are a bigger problem beyond the metros, where ecommerce is a newer phenomenon and where many users do not know how to differentiate between an original product and a fake one. “Counterfeits, substandard and unauthorised goods being sold on marketplaces hurt the business of genuine sellers,” said a spokesperson of online seller group All India Online Vendors’ Association. The association said that while some marketplaces have a good pre-screening system so that such sellers are not allowed to list products, a huge pattern of systemic inflow of fake goods is happening through ‘shell sellers’. “It is deliberately diluting the market of a specific brand or category like we saw in the case of goods of a sportswear brand where the marketplace itself was involved in selling such goods,” the spokesperson said. The department of consumer affairs is considering how to ensure more accountability from e-commerce companies. A law could be in the offing.
CCTV cam footage helps cops nab two cellphone snatchers
Chennai: Footage from CCTV cameras in Kilpauk helped police nab two snatchers on Saturday. Narendran, 19, of Choolai and Sasikumar, 19, of Pulianthope were arrested by the police, while their third accomplice managed to escape. The police have launched a search to trace the third suspect. They have also recovered a mobile phone worth Rs. 10,000 from the suspects. Police said J Thilak, 23, a native of Katpadi in Vellore, was walking on the road when three teenagers started following him on a bike. The man sitting in the middle attacked Thilak and managed to snatch his cellphone. He tried to go after them, but they managed to speed away. The incident took place on Saturday morning. Later, Thilak lodged a complaint with the Kilpauk police. Based on his complaint, police personnel checked the CCTV camera footage in the area and narrowed down the suspects within a few hours. S Jagadeeshwaran, assistant commissioner of police, Kilpauk, said, “We have made sure that CCTV cameras are installed in the neighbourhood and have informed all the police stations under our jurisdiction. In fact, many businessmen and residents have come forward to install CCTV cameras in their areas for better surveillance”. Chennai city police commissioner A K Viswanathan commended the police personnel for apprehending the suspects.
Three Die of H1N1, one of Dengue
Health minister C Vijayabaskar and minister S P Velumani inspect at CMCH on Sunday.
Coimbatore: Three people, including a one-year-old boy, died of H1N1 in the state on Sunday while one died of dengue. On a day when health minister C Vijayabaskar, after an inspection at the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), told reporters that H1N1 and dengue cases are declining in the state, Srinivasan, 53, of Kovaidpudur died of H1N1 in CMCH. Just hours before the minister’s visit, Indira Kumar, 70, of Pollachi had died of dengue. Srinivasan was admitted in CMCH last Tuesday and Indira Kumar on Thursday. “Indira Kumar was undergoing treatment at a private hospital and got admitted in CMCH only when his condition became critical,” a CMCH official said. In Madurai, one-year-old Sakthivel, son of Murugan of Thiruchuzhi in Virudhunagar district, was admitted to a private hospital and later brought to the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) where he tested positive for H1N1. GRH dean D Marudhupandian said the boy died on Sunday morning. P Valarmathi, 55, of Pushpa Nagar on Kangeyam Road in Tirupur, died of H1N1 in a private hospital. In addition to the four deaths, there were three more fever deaths in GRH, which health authorities ruled out to be either H1N1 or dengue.
Pandiarajan, 49, of Kallikudi in Madurai, who was admitted to a private hospital with symptoms of H1N1, died on Sunday. But health authorities are yet to ascertain if the death was due to H1N1. In Trichy, only one death – of a middle-aged woman – with symptoms of H1N1 was reported, though the number of patients getting admitted in hospitals continued to rise. CMCH officials said that in the last 10 days, the number of fever-related deaths has increased to 20 in Coimbatore. At present, 67 fever patients are undergoing treatment at CMCH of whom, 17 have tested positive for H1N1influenza and two for dengue. The health minister assured that the patients are in stable condition and there is nothing to panic. “Most deaths are due to co-morbid conditions like such as heart disease, renal disease, diabetes and obesity,” he said, adding that they have been working to control the spread of diseases. “Private hospital that don’t have bed facilities should not treat fever patients. They should recommend such patients immediately to government hospitals if the blood count goes below 50,000,” Vijayabaskar said.
Bursting firecrackers outside permitted time can bomb your Diwali celebrations
Chennai: Are you wondering who would stop you from bursting crackers outside the permitted hours? Well, your neighbour can do more than just that. A Delhi man has been sent to jail for allowing his son to burst crackers in violation of the Supreme Court order, after a neighbour complained. And the Chennai police say they would have to act on such complaints. “Though it is difficult to monitor the whole city for violations, our men and women will be patrolling the streets,” said a deputy commissioner of police. “We will crack down if there are specific complaints.” The city police are yet to register any case of violation. The relative silence during the run-up to Diwali is a fallout of the sluggish sales of firecrackers. Mohammad Farook, deputy secretary of George Town All Merchants Association, said sales have been down by half. “Last year, incessant rain played spoilsport; this time it is the Supreme Court order,” he said. Khader Sait, another officer-bearer of the association said, “Chennaiites are visiting firecracker stalls on Island Grounds and YMCA Grounds in Royapettah. However, they are buying little”.
The association had won the bid to host the crackers exhibition on the two grounds. L Raja of Sunlight World Crackers said sellers and buyers are equally confused over what constitutes a green cracker. “We have never before seen or heard of green crackers. It might be available in other countries, but not in India. How can we sell only these when nobody seems to know what’s it?” The Supreme Court, however, had allowed sale of dispatches already made to sellers, in places other than the National Capital Region. “I asked a couple of sellers for green firecrackers. They just smirked and gave me the usual stuff,” said Shafeeq Ali, who had come to the Island Grounds for Diwali shopping. “If they want to restrict crackers to environment-friendly varieties, the authorities should ensure that all the stores stock them. Nobody seems to have a clue about it now,” said Radhika, another buyer. As for violations, city police commissioner A K Vishwanathan had some good words about Chennaiites. “Residents here are by and large law-abiding people. We hope there won’t be violations,” he said.
Storms in Italy’s Sicily kill 12, toll rises to 29
Milan: Nine members of two families were killed in Sicily when the torrential rains and high winds lashing Italy caused a river to burst its banks. This brings the number of people killed in Sicily this weekend to at least 12 after three other people died when hit by torrents of water. PM Giuseppe Conte spoke of “an immense tragedy” during a visit on Sunday to affected areas. Heavy rains and gales have battered Italy for many days. The civil protection agency said deaths caused by bad weather stood at 17, excluding the fatalities in Sicily.