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17 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Number of dengue patients ‘4 times’ higher than last year

MD HABIBULLA, Dhaka
Number of dengue patients ‘4 times’ higher than last year
Intravenous saline is being administered to an inpatient of Dhaka Shishu Hospital suffering from dengue yesterday as the number of such patients quadruples in the capital this year compared to those of previous year. Focus Bangla Photo

The number of dengue patients has increased nearly four times from last year's count for the January–July period. According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) control room, a total of 4,852 dengue patients have been admitted to different hospitals in the capital this year till July 16.

In 2018, the number of dengue patients was nearly a quarter of this year at 1,374 during the January–July peiod. In July 2018, 946 patients had been admitted to hospitals, while 2,637 patients have been hospitalised in just 16 days of this month. However, more than 3,471 patients have been released after treatment this year. Currently, 1,075 patients are undergoing treatment at various hospitals in the city. Three of them, including a doctor, have died.

However, according to reports from different media outlets, the number of fatalities caused by dengue is about 12.

Sounding a note of alarm, experts have urged the authorities to take prompt action to destroy the larvae of Aedes mosquitos, the carrier of the virus. “The number of dengue patients is likely to increase during the active monsoon. As we can’t stop the rain, we must resort to alternative ways to resolve the problem,” Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told The Independent.

She, however, said climate change has contributed to an erratic weather. It now rains in December and cases of dengue are not uncommon even in the middle of a harsh winter. “Surroundings have to be kept clean so that mosquitoes cannot breed. Water should not accumulate in unused flowerpots, bottles, plastic bags and tyres,” she added.

She dismissed the number of fatalities published in the media.

She said if they get information about a possible dengue death, medical teams are at once sent to verify whether the patient died of dengue or not.

“As of now, we have recorded three deaths,” she added.

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.

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

She urged people not to panic and advised them to see a doctor a day after  having fever. People should take rest and drink plenty of fluids even after recovery as their health could deteriorate, she added.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical viral disease. Typically, symptoms like fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, and skin rashes appear three to 14 days after infection from a mosquito bite.

Prof. Sania Tahmina, director (disease control unit) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told The Independent recently that the number of patients has increased from that of the previous years due to early showers. But the situation is still under control, she said.

“As there is no vaccine for dengue, we have to start the treatment by identifying the symptoms,” she added.

She said if anyone is down with fever, he/she must keep in mind that it could be dengue. “If anyone has high fever with at least two of the following symptoms—headache, pain behind eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, joint or muscle pains, or rash—he/she may be suffering from dengue hemorrhagic fever. If the fever lasts for four to five days, the patient must immediately consult a physician,” she added.

On Monday, the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) launched a healthcare service for the people affected by dengue and chikungunya free of cost in different parts of the city. The DSCC authorities also opened a hotline number, 09611000999, for the residents of Dhaka south city to provide primary healthcare support.

The authorities have formed 67 medical teams that will take part in 476 educational institutions as well as social and cultural institutions to provide medical services in the DSCC areas.

Besides, on Monday, the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) formed a technical committee, comprising 10 members, to monitor the selection of insecticides for mosquito control, insecticide performance testing and the procurement process.

Earlier, on July 14, the High Court had directed the two city corporations in Dhaka to take initiatives within 24 hours to destroy all aedes mosquitoes to prevent dengue and chikungunya infections.

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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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