In the 24 hours till 8am on Saturday as many as 24 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals
Dengue is on the rise in Bangladesh once again, with nearly eight cases recorded each day on average in June.
A total of 304 dengue cases were recorded in the country, mostly in Dhaka, from January till Saturday. Among the cases, 203 (67%) were recorded in the first 26 days of the current month, according to data compiled by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The return of dengue to Dhaka and elsewhere is particularly unwelcome this year, as the capital is still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bangladesh experienced a massive dengue outbreak in 2019, when 101,354 people were hospitalized. The Aedes mosquito-borne disease killed 179 people last year, as revealed by data from the Health Emergency Operations Centre & Control Room of the DGHS.
Out of the 304 dengue patients admitted to hospitals since January this year, 237 have been released so far.
In the 24 hours till 8am on Saturday, as many as 24 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals, including 23 in Dhaka alone. Currently, 67 patients are undergoing treatment at hospitals, including one in outer Dhaka and 66 patients in 41 government and private hospitals in the capital, according to DGHS data.
No casualties have been reported yet.
Aedes larvae present in one fifth of Dhaka structures
The DGHS has found aedes larvae in one fifth of the structures in areas under the two city corporations of Dhaka.
The survey, conducted between June 1 and 12, found aedes larvae in 207 out of 1,012 structures in the capital, according to the DGHS.
The survey teams found aedes larvae in rainwater that had pooled at construction sites, in plastic drums and abandoned bottles, or in residences, flower tubs and water tanks.
A total of 39 patients were admitted to hospitals in Dhaka on Friday. Among them, 9 are from areas under Dhaka North City Corporation.
DNCC Chief Health Officer Brig Gen Md Zobaidur Rahman admitted that the infection rate appeared to be higher in June this year than last year.
“We went to the homes of the 9 patients [hospitalized on Friday] and conducted a drive [on Saturday]. We found Aedes larvae at one of the homes,” he said.
“We will conduct another drive on Sunday at the remaining houses. Wherever we find larvae, the person responsible will be fined,” the DNCC chief health officer added.
He also said citizens were responsible for 80% of the increase in dengue infections because many people were unaware that pools of stagnant water made ideal Aedes mosquito breeding grounds.
“It does not help that some construction sites are not being maintained properly as work has been stopped due to the pandemic,” Brig Gen Md Zobaidur Rahman added.
Aedes larvae were found at 1,700 residences during last year's anti-Aedes drives. The DNCC sent SMS messages to alert residents prior to the drives in April and June this year.
In drives from June 1-12, the DNCC collected nearly Tk4 lakh in fines due to the presence of Aedes larvae. Each offender was fined Tk3-6 lakh or sentenced to six months of imprisonment.
What experts say
Eminent virologist Prof Dr Nazrul Islam told Dhaka Tribune: “You have to kill mosquitoes to prevent dengue infection and you have to wear a mask to avoid coronavirus. These are two completely different things. There is a possibility of a catastrophic crisis in the hospitals if dengue rises amid the pandemic.”
Dr Md Robed Amin, line director of the DGHS Non-Communicable Disease Control (NCDC) unit, said there were few dengue patients from January to May, but the rate at which dengue was spreading had led to a doubling of the numbers of those infected since June.
“It has been raining for the last few days. This will continue from April to October. During this time, dengue cases increase. Outbreaks of dengue increased at this time in 2019 as well. Although there was no such outbreak last year, the number of patients is increasing again this year,” he said.
He urged everyone to ensure that water did not pool and become stagnant in or around their homes.