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More doctors using dengue diagnostic tests

More primary care doctors are using diagnostic tests to detect dengue, according to a survey by the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

SINGAPORE: More primary care doctors are using diagnostic tests to detect dengue, according to a survey by the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Researchers say this means primary care physicians are better able to confirm if their patients have the dengue virus.

To date, there have been some 7,320 dengue cases this year.

The 2014 survey found that 80 per cent of primary care doctors used diagnostic test kits for dengue, compared to 50 per cent in 2011.

It also found that more patients are treated in the primary care setting, with 70 per cent of physicians referring less than a quarter of their patients to hospital in 2014 -- compared to 40 per cent in 2011.

"At the hospital end, we realised that the hospitalisation rate is on the downward trend," said Professor Leo Yee Sin, Director of the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology. "Essentially, most of the dengue cases are mild, and we have the ability to take care of them in the community and they need not be referred to the hospital.

"The other angle is to look at whether or not any of the severe cases have not been given adequate treatment, which then leads to severe complications.

"If you look at the mortality rate, last year we had a total of slightly more than 22,000 dengue cases resulting in eight fatalities.

"Compared to 2004, 2005, there were more fatality cases; I think all this adds up together.

"We hope that the research has improved the clinical management and we hope to be able to continue to communicate such information to all levels of the healthcare system." 

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