Saturday, 23 October, 2021

Country faces triple whammy: Flu-like diseases spreading fast; children and elderly getting infected most

Country faces triple whammy: Flu-like diseases spreading fast; children and elderly getting infected most

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A large number of people, especially children and the elderly, are getting infected with flu-like diseases like coughing and sneezing across the country, including the capital, due to the weather change.

Common cold and flu-like disease are now around the corner as an imbalanced temperature has been prevailing across the country for the last few days after a rise in the mercury, said experts.

It came at a time when the country is battling the second wave of coronavirus and the dengue outbreak.

Health experts have advised people, particularly children and the elderly, to remain alert to seasonal flu, diarrhoea, common cold and pneumonia.

“The number of coronavirus infections has been declining in the country but seasonal flu is now prevailing as a number of people are being affected by the disease across the country,” Prof Dr Robed Amin, spokesperson for the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told the Daily Sun.

Sources at different hospitals in Dhaka and other parts of the country said people, including children, were rushing to hospitals with cold-related diseases.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Principal of Mugda Medical College Prof Dr Ahmedul Kabir said, “Covid-19 symptoms like fever, cough and sneezing are being noticed among a number of patients during the change in weather but their Covid-19 test results are coming negative which is confusing. Genome sequencing should be carried out to detect the exact type of the current flu-like diseases.”

Mentioning that people are now facing Covid-19, dengue and cold-related diseases at the same time, he said all will have to remain alert and take preventive measures.

Dr Ahmedul Kabir also advised people to wear masks, avoid public gatherings, maintain hygiene, increase physical activities, keep arrangement of proper ventilation in living rooms and keep children protected from cold and hot during this time of weather change.

Visiting different hospitals in the capital, including Dhaka Shishu Hospital and Dr MR Khan Shishu Hospital & Institute of Child Health, it was seen that a number of people, including many children, affected by fever, cough, sneezing and pneumonia rushed there for treatment.

“Of the total patients, around 30-40 percent children infected with flu-like diseases and pneumonia are being taken to our hospital outdoor every day,” Prof Dr Syed Shafi Ahmed Muaz, director of Dhaka Shishu Hospital, said. 

Sources at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) said on average around 250-300 diarrhoea patients are rushing to the hospital every day while around 40 percent of them are children.

Talking to the Daily Sun, some city residents said patients suffering from cold-related diseases were facing problems in getting admitted to hospitals without reports of Covid-19 test, forcing them to go from one health facility to another with sufferings being their constant companion.

Many of the patients said they underwent coronavirus tests after feeling same symptoms of the disease but the results came negative.

Zaman, a resident of city’s Mohammadur area, said his baby girl has been suffering from flu-like disease, including cough and high fever, but her dengue and corona test results came negative.

The health experts said people are affected by various types of seasonal diseases, including acute respiratory infection (ARI), pneumonia and asthma during this season.

They said children catch different types of flu-like seasonal diseases and pneumonia during the July-October period and the diseases sometimes become severe.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Dr ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said people usually are affected by various types of flu-like diseases from July to February, particularly during the winter season.

“Seasonal flu, common cold, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and four types of seasonal coronavirus may affect people of all ages including children. Currently, people may also be infected with other four types of coronavirus,” he added.

The virologist advised people to remain alert and stay protected from cold to prevent flu-like diseases. “Same type of preventive measures like wearing face masks and washing hands with soap will have to be practised and social distancing will have to be maintained to prevent the diseases,” he said.

The health experts fear that people may become very susceptible to coronavirus like other respiratory viruses and flu-like diseases during the winter due to low humidity, less sunlight, mild vitamin D deficiency and impaired immunity.