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20 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Dengue cases may spurt next month

MD HABIBULLA, Dhaka

The prevalence of dengue may increase further next month, causing a spurt in the number of patients and fatalities that could break all previous records in the country’s history, said experts. They said the present situation of the dengue outbreak in Bangladesh is very alarming. The prevalence and spread of the mosquito-borne disease in the neighbouring districts of the capital are already taking a dangerous turn. They added that unusual rainfall patterns at the beginning of this year exacerbated the situation.

According to data provided by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) control room, the number of deaths caused by dengue stood at five and at least 5,546 dengue patients were admitted to different hospitals in the capital till July 18.

A total of 4,334 patients have been released after treatment this year. Currently, 1,207 patients are undergoing treatment at various hospitals in the city. The worsening of the dengue situation is evident from the fact that 445 people had been hospitalised with dengue in Dhaka in the past 48 hours, ending yesterday noon, the data said.

“The prevalence of dengue can increase further, raising the number of patients and deaths in the next month,” entomologist Prof. Kabirul Bashar of Jahangirnagar University told The Independent.

He, however, warned that dengue has already spread to districts neighbouring the capital. This year, it will break all previous records, he feared. He pointed out that the number of dengue patients has already crossed the previous year’s record during the same period.

However, the actual dengue death toll and the number of

dengue patients admitted to different city hospitals could be higher than the official data given by the health department, say doctors.

Admitting a higher number of patients, Dr Ayesha Akhter, in-charge of the disease control room at the Directorate of Health, said there could be more patients and deaths. “But we have got five death reports as of now,” she added. She claimed that the process of providing information about dengue was transparent.

Kabirul Bashar, however, said after 1953, the country experienced unusual rainfall in February this year, which is the main reason for the dengue outbreak.

“Usually Aedes mosquito eggs can survive in Nature for at least six months in the dry season. In October last year, Aedes mosquitoes bred eggs. When an unusual spate of rainfall occurred in February, these mosquitos’ eggs became adult mosquitoes, imperilling the city’s residents,” he said.

The entomologist, however, advised that in such a crisis, an emergency response is required, generating public awareness. He said to control the situation, at least 16 teams are working under the ‘disease control unit’ of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to detect Aedes mosquito density in different parts of the capital.

As per mosquito density, the two city corporations have to conduct crash programmes by increasing the amount of insecticides.

He opined that there has something wrong with the method of mosquito control and recommended that it be changed.

Doctors say the first dengue fever attack weakens the human immune system. Hence, it takes a long time to recover if dengue strikes a second time. They warn that if city-dwellers are not alert and do not take preventive measures, they might come down with dengue.

Health experts have urged people not to panic over the current spurt in the incidence of dengue. People should keep their homes clean and get rid of unnecessary containers so that mosquitoes are unable to breed, they say.  

Prof. Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, said people should keep the interiors and external environs of their houses clean, including the roofs. They should not let water remain in unused flowerpots, bottles, plastic bags and tyres where Aedes mosquitos often breed.

She advised people to go to the doctor a day after having fever. She asked people to take rest and take lots of fluids even after recovery as their health could deteriorate.

Meanwhile, home minister Asaduzzzaman Khan said yesterday (Friday) that at present, dengue is the most severe mosquito-borne disease. The government will do everything necessary to eliminate dengue virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.

“Besides, public awareness about this matter must be increased,” he said.

The home minister said everybody should be aware of their respective positions to put an end to the mosquito menace. “Aedes mosquitoes will not survive if we keep our surroundings clean,” he observed.

Meanwhile, the two Dhaka city corporations have taken several initiatives to prevent dengue. Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has opened a hotline (09611000999) for Dhaka south city residents in order to provide primary healthcare support.

On Wednesday, the High Court (HC) directed the government to take action against corrupt officials after conducting investigations into allegations that ineffective medicines had been purchased. It also directed the two city corporations to import effective medicines with the help of the government on an emergency basis and take steps to end the mosquito menace.

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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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