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Experts call for awareness to prevent Chikungunya outbreak

  • Published at 03:43 pm March 1st, 2018
  • Last updated at 05:39 pm March 1st, 2018
Experts call for awareness to prevent Chikungunya outbreak
With the number of mosquitoes on the rise in Dhaka again, experts have stressed the need for raising awareness among the people to prevent the outbreak of diseases like chikungunya and dengue fever that hit last year. The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) launched a drive against mosquitoes on Wednesday. As many as 278 workers are working with 318 fogging machines across 57 wards. According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), from April 9 to September 28 last year 1,003 patients were diagnosed with chikungunya virus. Between May 12 and September 28, a total of 13,814 people were affected by chikungunya. Of them, 4,864 patients underwent treatment at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, 2,348 patients at Mitford Hospital, 2,558 patients at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, 9 at Shaheed M Mansur Ali Medical College Hospital, 131 at Mugda Medical College Hospital, 93 at Dhaka Shishu Hospital, 522 at United Hospital, 197 at Apollo Hospital, 255 at Delta Hospital and 547 with other private hospitals and doctors while 2,290 underwent treatment at the IEDCR.

Apart from Dhaka, 185 people were affected in 17 districts across the country and 52 of them received treatment for chikungunya. It was found that most of these patients were from Dhaka and diagnosed with post chikungunya arthritis.

Also Read- Why are city corporations failing to tackle the mosquito problem?

Prof Dr ABM Abdullah of the internal medicine department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said: “Since mosquitoes are on the rise, the fear of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya has increased. However, if one is affected by the disease once the chance of being affected again is very slim.”

To prevent the disease, he emphasised measures to repel mosquitoes. “If people are affected by chikungunya like they did last year then it will cause massive tantrum.”

To tackle the situation, the BSMMU professor asked people to keep their houses clean and make sure that there is no stagnant water on the premises or tubs in the garden or any abandoned buckets.

He also asked people to set up mosquito nets before sleep and make sure that children put on full trousers. “We have to take all indoor measures to save ourselves from mosquito bites while the authorities will take measures to repel mosquitoes outside.”

IEDCR Senior Scientific Officer ASM Alamgir said: “The chikungunya virus spreads among the people through two types of mosquitoes--Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus. Symptoms of the virus include high fever and joint pain. Other symptoms are headache, muscle pain, joint swelling and rashes.”

He said there is no vaccine for chikungunya yet. Patients have to undergo treatment based on symptoms. “What we need to stop the spread of the disease is awareness and measures to repel mosquitoes.”

Alamgir said: “People are usually affected by these diseases during monsoon. But since it rains anytime of the year Aedes mosquitoes can reproduce throughout the year. People were affected by chikungunya almost throughout the year in 2016 and 2017. Since it rained twice earlier this week we have to be alert.”

BSMMU Director Brig Gen Abdullah Al Harun said: “We do not have any specialised clinic for the treatment of chikungunya or mosquito-borne diseases. However, we are always ready with adequate equipment to offer treatment of these diseases.”

Dhaka District Civil Surgeon Dr Md Ehsanul Karim said: “The city corporation is assigned to repel mosquitoes. The Ministry of Health is holding meetings with them frequently in this regard. We ask them to tackle the situation as soon as possible, otherwise they will have to face a similar situation they did last year.”

He said curbing mosquitoes is the only way to get rid of chikungunya and other mosquito borne diseases. “The city corporation can come forward by offering their cooperation. Even then if anybody is affected it is our responsibility to provide treatment to them. We are ready for that,” said the civil surgeon.

This article was first published on banglatribune.com

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