Viral and bacterial fever and respiratory illness have spread across the country, including the capital, at the end of winter, affecting people, mainly children and the elderly.
The common cold and flu like disease are now around the corner as the temperature rises over the last few days and summer is knocking on the door in the country.
“We didn’t yet test the sample of ongoing flu and respiratory infection patients. We can confirm the causes of the respiratory illness and fever after carrying out test,” Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin, director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told the Daily Sun.
According to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), around 20,000 patients suffering from acute respiratory infection (ARI) and around 48,000 patients with diarrhoea rushed to hospitals, across the country including in Dhaka, from February 12 to March 13 this year.
The health directorate data also said at least six people died of ARI infection while some died of diarrhoea during the same time in the country.
“Most of the current fever and flu-like diseases are caused by virus. However, many children, elderly people and patients with co-morbidity are also suffering from the respiratory problems due to bacterial infection,” Dr Fazle Rabbi Chowdhury, associate professor of Department of Internal Medicine at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), told the Daily Sun.
Sources from different hospitals in Dhaka and other parts of the country said people, including children and the elderly, with common cold, flu like diseases and respiratory problems, have been rushing to the hospitals for the last around one month just at the end of winter.
A large number of the patients are also rushing to the private chambers of doctors while many other patients are taking over the counter drugs instead of visiting doctors or rushing to hospitals.
Talking to the Daily Sun, some people of the capital said their children have been affected by the cold-related diseases, fever and respiratory problems but the diseases are taking more than a week to cure.
Zaman, a resident of city’s Mirpur area, said his six-month-old daughter Najiba Tasnim has been suffering from flu like symptoms and respiratory problems for over two weeks. Health experts said people are affected by various types of common cold, flu like disease, acute respiratory infection (ARI), pneumonia, asthma, diarrhoea and jaundice, at the beginning of summer.
“Surveillance is necessary to find out actual reason of the cold diseases and respiratory problems as many patients are coming to us recently with mild coronavirus infection,” Dr Fazle Rabbi said.
Dr Manjur Hossain Khan, assistant professor of the Department of Virology at the IEDCR, said people can be affected by common cold like rhino virus or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adeno virus, parainfluenza (respiratory virus) and bronchiolitis at any time of the year.
Prof Dr Md Jahangir Alam, director of Bangladesh Shishu Hospital & Institute, said the number of patients suffering from fever and other cold related diseases, including respiratory infection and pneumonia, has increased for the last few weeks at the hospital.
“The number of pneumonia patients has also increased a little bit in the current month at the children hospital. Over 200 pneumonia patients were admitted to this hospital in the current month,” he said.
Mentioning that around 1,200-1,500 patients take treatment every day at the Out Patient Department of the Bangladesh Shishu Hospital, Dr Jahangir Alam said around 40 percent to 50 percent of the patients are coming with fever, cough and respiratory infection for the last few weeks.
The child specialist advised people to remain alert and keep their children protected from sun heat, and to feed nutritious food to enhance immunity to prevent diseases.
The icddr,b sources said the number of diarrhoea patients has also increased a little bit as usually 400-500 diarrhoea patients come to take treatment there, the hospital sources said.
Dr Fazle Rabbi Chowdhury advised people to wear mask, avoid public gathering, maintain hygiene, increase physical activity, keep arrangement of proper ventilation in living rooms and keep extra cautions for children, elderly people and patients with comorbidity.
However, the health experts advised people to take extra cautionary measures as adenovirus has affected the neighbouring country India and the coronavirus infection may also return at any time.