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11 July, 2019 01:04:16 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 July, 2019 11:45:35 AM

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Dengue turns dangerous in Dhaka

Md Habibulla, Dhaka
Dengue turns dangerous in Dhaka

In the nine days since July 1, 154 dengue patients, on average, have been admitted to Dhaka hospitals and this indicates how grave the situation has become in recent weeks. A total of 1,384 dengue patients have been admitted to various city hospitals between July 1–9, recording an average admission of 154 patients per day with regard to a dengue outbreak.

Experts say the disease has assumed serious proportions.

More people could be affected if preventive measures are not taken immediately. That the situation has been worsening was evident from the fact that 172 people were hospitalised with dengue in Dhaka in the past 24 hours, ending yesterday noon.

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.  According to data provided by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) control room,  least 1,750 dengue patients were admitted to various hospitals in the city in June while the number stood at 1,384 only in the first nine days of this month.

From January 1 to July 9, at least 3,458 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals. Among them, 2,766 were released after receiving treatment. Currently, 689 patients are undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the city. Three of them died, including a doctor, according to the data.

In July 2018, altogether 946 patients had been admitted to hospitals, while 1,384 patients have had to be hospitalised in just nine days of this month. Health minister Zahid Maleque recently admitted an increase in the number of patients. “Dengue infestation is much higher this year.  We've received many patients and are treating them,” he said.  

Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayor Sayeed Khokon said insecticides are being sprayed to kill the mosquitos, but they are “slightly less effective”. However, he assured that the situation “is under control”. He said that the infection rate of dengue this year is higher than the rate in previous years.

Experts say the symptoms of dengue include high fever with at least two of the following complications: headache, pain behind eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, joint or muscle pain and rashes. They also say disease-resistance among children is low and that is why they fall ill easily. “If we can’t ensure treatment in time, affected children may face the risk of death,” said a doctor.

Aedes mosquito is the vector of dengue and chikungunya viruses. Aedes mosquito breeds in clean water-filled cans, pots, cups, flower tubs, coconut shells and tyres in and around urban homes. Unlike other mosquitoes, Aedes bites mostly during daylight hours. Its peak biting period is two hours after sunrise and two hours before dusk.

Doctors say the first dengue fever attack weakens the human immune system. So, 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 be down with dengue.

Incidence of dengue has risen dramatically around the world in recent decades. An estimated 3.9 billion people in 128 countries are at the risk of dengue infection, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).  

Globally, the number of cases reported increased from 2.2 million in 2010 to 3.34 million in 2016.

Health experts have urged people not to panic over the current rise in 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 Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, told the media that people should keep the inside and outside of their houses clean, including the roofs.

They should not let water to remain in unused flowerpots, bottles, plastic bags and tyres where Aedes mosquitos could breed.

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

Dr ABM Abdullah, former dean of the medicine department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said: “We are receiving a huge number of dengue-affected patients. The number of patients has increased from that of the previous years. If we do not clean the source of Aedes mosquitos, we will be at more risk of dengue.”

“Like others disease, dengue does not have any vaccine. We have to do the treatment by identifying the symptoms of dengue,” he added.

When contacted, Dr Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told The Independent recently that although the number of people suffering from dengue has increased in the city this time compared to the previous years, the situation is still under control and people need not panic.

He, however, requested people to seek medical assistance if they had fever. “Consult doctors and undergo tests to ascertain whether you’re suffering from dengue,” he advised.

Dr Abul Kalam Azad said they have prepared a guideline for dengue treatment. It is estimated that about half of the world’s population is now at risk of being infected with dengue, according to WHO.

There is no specific treatment for dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers the fatality rate below 1 per cent.

IK

 

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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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