POST TIME: 28 July, 2019 12:24:11 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 28 July, 2019 02:10:39 PM
Dengue breaks all records

Dengue breaks all records

Anxious over the toll the ongoing dengue streak has been taking on children, parents-- holding their ailing babies in arms-- wait in front of doctors’ chambers at the general pediatric ward of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital in the capital yesterday. Star Mail Photo

The number of recorded cases of dengue infection in the first seven month of this year has hit 10,528 breaking all records of the mosquito-borne disease in the country, according to the Directorate-General of Health Services (DGHS). The disease, however, was first detected in the country back in 2000. The situation has made people, as well as physicians, worried. The dengue outbreak keeps getting worse as at least 683 patients were hospitalised yesterday. The number is the highest for a single day admission over the past few weeks.

“Dengue cases have increased significantly than the previous year. For the first time, we are facing a record number of dengue patients that has made even the physicians worried,” Prof. Dr Khandakar Ezaz Ahmed, director of Holy Family Red Crescent Medical Collage Hospital, told The Independent yesterday.

The number of dengue patients exceeded the 6,000 mark three times in the last 19 years: 6,232 in 2002, 6,060 in 2016, and 10,148 in 2018, according to a DGHS report.

However, the number of dengue patients increased this year to 10,528 in just the first seven months, breaking all records in the country. This year's outbreak has claimed at least eight lives so far, the data revealed.

In July alone, at least 8,384 dengue patients have been hospitalised.

However, the actual number of dengue patients and deaths caused by the mosquito-borne disease is likely to be higher than what has been reported in the government data, experts said.

Analysing different media reports and talking with different government and private hospitals in the city, The Independent found that, as of now, the number of deaths caused by dengue is about 32.

The dengue outbreak hit for the first time in 2000 when the country saw about 93 deaths and at least 5,551 people were hospitalised. Till yesterday, a total of 59,823 patients have been diagnosed with the infection, 305 of whom died, in all these years since the first diagnosis in the year 2000.

In 2014, 375 dengue patients were hospitalised, while the number increased significantly to 3,162 in 2015, claiming six lives. The number doubled to 6,060 in 2016 with 14 deaths, while the number was down to 2,769 in 2017 with eight deaths. In 2018, the number of dengue patients increased to 10,148, while at least 26 patients died, according to the DGHS data.

Dengue, a mosquito-borne virus, spreads among humans through its carrier aedes mosquito. The disease has no known cure or vaccine yet.

A student of Jahangirnagar University (JU) named

U Khein Nu died of dengue fever in Coxsbazar while she was taken to the Chittagong Medical Collage Hospital yesterday afternoon.

Earlier, on Friday night, another public university student died of dengue at a private hospital in the capital. The student was identified as Firoz Kabir, a student of finance department in Dhaka University.

Dr Syed Shafi Ahmed, director of Dhaka Shishu Hospital, told The Independent that they were providing treatment to a record number of dengue patients. “Every day we are admitting 15–20 dengue patients, for the first time in our history,” he said. “As the number of dengue patients is very high, we are facing huge pressure and we can’t accommodate them,” he said.

The current situation has been worsening as the dengue patients are getting admit to the different hospitals outsides in the capital.

However, city hospitals and clinics—both government and private—are struggling to provide services to dengue patients in this situation. DGHS data shows that the number of dengue diagnoses is on the rise outside Dhaka as well, as 373 cases have been reported in different districts under six divisions.

Of these, 78 were reported in Dhaka division (except Dhaka city), 141 in Chittagong, 66 in Khulna, and 35 in Barisal.

In Bagura, 40 patients have been diagnosed with dengue, while at least 13 have been affected in Sylhet.

Dr Ayesha Akhter, in-charge of the disease control room at the Directorate of Health, told The Independent that dengue cases started getting reported very early this year, raising the number of dengue patients significantly.

“There could be more patients and deaths. We have got eight death reports as of now,” she said. hospitals across the country have become more diligent in reporting dengue cases, raising the numbers this year, she added.

However, entomologist Prof. Kabirul Bashar of Jahangirnagar University warned that dengue has already spread to districts neighbouring the capital that could make the situation worse. It has already broken all previous records in the country.

Until now, extremely high fever, rashes, and vomiting used to be considered symptoms of the fever, but now doctors recommend going to them immediately after showing signs of fever. Dengue fever can take an alarming turn as the heart, kidneys, and the brain of a patient can get affected very fast, sending a patient into a shock.

According to doctors, most dengue victims have died due to the ‘dengue shock syndrome’. The doctors said there is a definite rise in the number of dengue patients this year and children are more at risk.

Sounding the alarm, experts urged the authorities and people to take prompt action to destroy the larvae of aedes mosquitoes, the carrier of the virus.

Doctors say the first spell of dengue fever weakens the human immune system. Hence, it takes a long time to recover if dengue strikes a second time.

Though the two Dhaka city corporations have taken various initiatives to control the dengue outbreak, they have not produced any remarkable results yet.

The civic bosses claim that the dengue situation is under control. But their claim is at odds with the real picture. Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), yesterday, started a mobile court drive to ensure curbs on aedes mosquitos’ re-production in residential areas. Claiming the dengue situation was under control during this time, DNCC mayor Md Atiqul Islam said, “If we find larvae of aedes mosquitoes in anyone’s house during the drive, we will take legal steps.”

Admitting an increase in dengue patients, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayor Sayed Khokan said that to handle the dengue outbreak, the government is ready. Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader yesterday said the government is working sincerely to tackle the prevailing dengue situation.