Confusion has ensued after the Covid-19 test results of a doctor from Brahmanbaria came back different from two separate laboratories.
When inquired about the different results, health department officials gave out contradictory statements.
On April 7, Bijoynagar Upazila Health Complex Medical Officer Dr Hamida Mustafa Sheuty went to Harashpur area along with four healthcare workers to collect a patient's sample, which later came back positive.
As a precaution, samples were collected from 24 healthcare workers, including from Dr Sheuty, on April 11 to test them for the novel coronavirus. The samples were then sent to Dhaka.
Dr Sheuty's sample was sent to the Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) for testing.
On April 14, test results for the team were sent to the Brahmanbaria Civil Surgeon's office, which identified Dr Sheuty as coronavirus positive, and the three health workers as negative.
After receiving the report, Dr Sheuty returned from Brahmanbaria to Mymensingh to her husband's residence. However, neighbours pressured the couple to leave the area after news about the doctor's coronavirus test results became known in the area.
The district civil surgeon was forced to take the couple to the Mymensingh SK Hospital's coronavirus ward on Tuesday, the day Mymensingh went into lockdown.
However, Dr Sheuty's sample was once again tested at the Mymensingh Medical College's microbiology department the same day. But this time, the test results came back negative for the doctor, causing widespread confusion.
Mymensingh Civil Surgeon Dr ABM Moshiul Alam said the second test was not performed following the proper procedure, which is why they have rejected the result.
He added that a second test can only be carried out eight days after the first, and Dr Sheuty must be tested again for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Mymensingh Medical College Dr Lakshmi Narayan said, "The second test was performed according to the rules. If there is no fever, then the rule of waiting for eight days to perform another test does not apply.
"However, we will check again after two days to confirm the result."
For expert opinion in this regard, The Business Standard contacted Prof Dr Alimul Islam from the Department of Microbiology and Hygiene of the Bangladesh Agricultural University.
Dr Alimul Islam said, "There could be many reasons for such confusion. In this case, there is a chance of contaminating the sample at every step, from collecting it to taking it to the lab's PCR machine for testing.
"It is necessary to work in accordance with certain protocols. Otherwise, the test results might come out different."
Commenting on the issue, General Secretary of Mymensingh chapter of the Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Ali Yusuf said, "When a doctor faces confusion over the coronavirus testing procedure, what will happen to an average person?
"Authorities concerned must look into the matter closely and take necessary action in this regard."