Thursday, 28 September, 2023

Dengue spreads across country

3 die, 889 hospitalised in a day

Dengue spreads across country
Stagnant water by the main road at busy Muradpur in Chattogram city apparently serves as a breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes, the vector of dengue which has turned alarming in the country. The photo was taken on Monday. – Rabin chowdhury

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The deadly dengue virus has spread to all districts of the country, but poor attention is being given outside the capital to control the situation.

Experts have advised all organisations, including city corporations, municipalities, and union parishads, to play a strong role in fighting Aedes mosquitoes.

“The dengue virus has been transmitted across the country. Unfortunately, poor attention is being given at the district level to combat the mosquito menace,” virologist Prof Dr Nazrul Islam told the Daily Sun.

If Aedes mosquito is not controlled immediately, dire consequences will have to be faced also at the district and upazila levels, he warned.

“The measures taken to deal with the dengue situation are not enough,” said Nazrul Islam, former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).

Sources from some municipalities said many local government units still are not actively conducting anti-mosquito drives amid the growing infection cases across the country.

Except Dhaka city, the measures taken to face the dengue situation in other cities are also poor, the sources added.

“We’ll restart our anti-mosquito drives this week. We’ll also carry out campaign to make people aware of it,” said Sharif Uddin Pradhan, mayor of Pabna Sadar municipality.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), dengue patients have already been reported in 61 districts.

The highest number of dengue cases has been reported in Dhaka city and the second highest in Chattogram city and third in Barishal city.  Three have died of dengue and 889 patients have been hospitalised across the country in the last 24 hours till 8am on Monday. Of the total cases, 315 are reported outside the capital.

The DGHS said 3,253 dengue patients are currently undergoing treatment across the country. Of them, 1,173 are outside the capital.

Some 5,865 dengue patients and 29 deaths have so far been reported in the first 10 days of July. A total of 13,843 patients and 76 deaths have been reported this year.

Police sources said two police constables of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) —Rasel Shikder and Aysha Akter – have died of dengue in the capital in the past 24 hours.

Talking to the Daily Sun, entomologist Prof Dr Kabirul Bashar of Jahangirnagar University said dengue will spread to all the districts this year, but there is lack of preparations and measures in many districts, upazilas and municipalities in the country to tackle the situation.

“Still there is time to take necessary preparations and measures to face the dengue situation. Otherwise, the number of dengue patients and death will also increase all over the country. The local government units must intensify anti-mosquito drives and awareness programmes,” he said.

The dengue mosquito expert said due to the effects of climate change, Aedes larvae are now found in drain water, and Aedes mosquitoes are born all the year round due to the stagnant water, particularly during the rainy season.

Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Ministry Tajul Islam presided over an inter-ministerial meeting at the ministry conference room last month about the dengue situation.

Later, the ministry sent letters to the municipalities and city corporations with some directives including carrying out anti-mosquito drive and building awareness among people to tackle the dengue situation.

“Letters have already been sent to city corporations and municipalities to take necessary measures to control the dengue transmission,” Abdur Rahman, deputy secretary of the LGRD ministry, told the Daily Sun.

But, name only drive was conducted in many municipalities across the country while dengue patients have been found in upazila and union parishad levels, sources said.

Despite directives from the LGRD ministry, most municipalities have not taken any long-term comprehensive plan and conducted effective anti-mosquito drives.

Sources from different upazila and district-level hospitals said there is lack of enough test kit to test dengue and poor treatment facilities in many of the upazila- and district-level hospitals in different parts of the country.

Dr Maria Hasan, civil surgeon of Barishal, said dengue patients already have been reported in Barishal sadar, Hijla and Mehendiganj upazilas of the district.

“Of the 10 upazilas, two to one upazilas have given further demand to the health directorate for test kit after fishing the stock.”

Talking to the Daily Sun, Prof Dr Nazmul Islam, director (Disease Control) of the DGHS, said they have enough preparations across the country to ensure proper treatment and test for dengue patients.

“Dengue units and separate wards have been opened in upazila health complexes and districts hospitals,” he said.

Experts said lack of a long-term comprehensive strategy, poor awareness among people and the emergence of new mosquito variety are also responsible for the current dengue situation.

Incessant rain has made mosquito-breeding grounds, increasing dengue infections and deaths. It may rise further in the days to come, they added.