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11 August, 2019 12:01:58 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 August, 2019 03:54:54 PM
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Ministry report blames changing patterns, less potent insecticides

DENGUE PREVALENCE THIS YEAR
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Ministry report blames changing patterns, less potent insecticides

Changing patterns of dengue and increasing resistance to insecticides among Aedes mosquitoes have triggered the prevalence of the vector-borne disease in Dhaka this year, says a summary report prepared by the health ministry. The report, submitted to the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday, thoroughly analyses the current situation and chalks out possible solutions. With hospitals being jampacked with dengue patients and the authorities being clueless about combating the mosquito-borne disease, Bangladesh has been struggling with the worst dengue outbreak in its history for the last one month.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned to the country after her three-week stay in London. The health ministry report was the first thing on her table upon her return.

Ashadul Islam, secretary of the Healthcare Division, yesterday said dengue symptoms had changed considerably this year from the usual ones. "Now, dengue is diagnosed in patients who don’t develop early signs like high fever, headaches or rashes," he added.

He also said severe dengue symptoms usually became visible to doctors in three to seven days after the appearance of the first symptoms. These include the body temperature falling below 100°F along with severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness and blood in vomit, he added. He said the severe

symptoms were appearing much earlier in dengue patients this year. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), dengue is caused by a virus of the Flaviviridae family. There are four distinct, but closely related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4). Recovery from infection by any one of these provides lifelong immunity against that particular serotype.

However, cross-immunity to the other serotypes after recovery is only partial and temporary. Subsequent infections (secondary infection) by other serotypes increase the risk of developing severe dengue. The health ministry report says that Bangladesh used to witness the outbreaks of DEN-1 and DEN-2 serotypes. But the DEN-3 and DEN-4 serotype are more prevalent this year, it notes.

The DEN-3 and DEN-4 serotypes trigger plasma leakage, resulting in fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding and organ impairment. All these caused the death of most of the dengue patients this year, according to the report.

Ashadul Islam said the report emphasised the importance of launching a mass awareness programme to fight against dengue.

The Aedes mosquito breeds in clear water and prefers urban or semi-urban landscapes. As Bangladesh is experiencing increasing urbanisation as part of its progress towards a middle income country, the dengue outbreak is likely to become even more severe if proper steps are not taken right now, said Ashadul Islam.

He also stressed the importance of changing the present insecticides used for controlling mosquitoes in the capital. The health ministry report too mentions that repeated use of the same insecticides has developed resistance among the mosquitoes against those. Though Dengue has spread in all 64 districts of the country, DGHS records show that over 86 per cent of the dengue cases in the country are still concentrated in Dhaka. The population of the adult female Aedes mosquito in the capital is also now around 13 times higher than it was in the pre-monsoon period, a DGHS survey has recently found out.

The concentration of mosquito larvae is also much higher. So, it is likely that the mosquito population will grow further in the recent future, the survey has mentioned.

Dr Bobby Reiner, one of the authors of the Global Burden of Disease study, told The Telegraph, UK, that the number of dengue patients was on the rise because of the widespread shift from rural to urban living. People living in poor conditions of the world’s “unplanned megacities” are particularly at risk, he added.

“Dengue is an urban mosquito-borne disease. There’s a growing population of people living in poor urban areas where there are no screens on windows and no air conditioning. Also, there is a lot of standing water. These are ideal conditions for mosquitoes that are carriers of the disease,” said Dr Reiner.

SHK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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