A total of 10,528 dengue patients have been hospitalized from January 1 to July 27
The dengue virus is spreading its wings aggressively, both in Dhaka and the outer districts, with one patient being hospitalized every two minutes as of on Saturday.
A total of 683 new dengue infected patients were reported across Bangladesh on Saturday—the highest number of hospital admissions, due to the virus in a single day, this year, official records show.
With this, the number of patients suffering from dengue, who have been hospitalized in the first seven months of this year, has surpassed the highest tally of the last two decades.
A total of 10,528 dengue patients have been hospitalized from January 1 to July 27, with eight deaths so far this year. The number of dengue patients hospitalized this year has broken the previous record of 10,148 in 2018.
Despite that, both the Dhaka North, and South city corporations, as well as top government officials continue to say that the situation is “under control,” whereas medical officials fear that this year's outbreak might be the worst since the first outbreak in 2000.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne virus, spreads among humans through its carrier, the Aedes mosquito. The disease has no known cure or vaccine as yet.
Unable to find accommodation, patients resort to lying on the floor
The current situation has left hospitals and clinics, both state-run, and private in Dhaka and elsewhere, struggling to provide services to dengue patients, with the capital facing the worst situation.
Mohsin Mia, a college student from Chandpur who got admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on saturday, said: “I caught the dengue fever five days ago, and was admitted to the local health centre. I had to come here for better treatment as my condition has deteriorated.”
Unable to get a bed, Mohsin’s parents were forced to accommodate him on the floor in front of the 6th floor elevators.
“I cannot move without the help of my parents. I am still being bitten by mosquitoes at this place," he added.
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Dr Shohag, honorary medical officer of male medicine ward 602 at DMCH, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The dengue patients have been pouring in since the last two months. In recent days the rate of dengue patients being admitted to DMCH has become too high. At least 150 patients were admitted to the hospital on Thursday.”
Most of the patients are aged between 15-30 years, he said, adding that most patients were recovering, and the death rate was still low.
"It is taking five to seven days of stay at the hospital. We are trying our best to render quality service to all. Yet, I have not been able to have my lunch as of 6pm due to the pressure," Dr Shohag added.
Is dengue being under-reported?
Government high-ups, including ministers, and city corporation mayors, are still continuing to downplay the real scenario of the dengue outbreak in Bangladesh.
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sayeed Khokon recently said, the media reporting on the number of people affected by dengue is "nothing but rumours," which are being spread through social media in the same manner like the kidnapping rumours.
The official count recorded by the government appears to be much lower than the actual one, as doctors say many of the cases remain unreported across Bangladesh.
Data by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has so far confirmed the death of eight people. However unofficial data puts the death toll at 31.
Two university students, one in Dhaka, and another in Chittagong, reportedly died on Friday from dengue fever. Firoz Kabir, a Dhaka University finance student, died of Dengue in Square Hospital on Thursday.
U Khein Nu, a student of Jahangirnagar University's pharmacy department reportedly died of dengue fever at her home in Chittagong.
A man suffering from dengue also died on a moving bus, while on his way home in Narail on Thursday.
Tania Sultana, a 47th batch student at Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College, died of dengue fever on Thursday while undergoing treatment at Anwar Khan Modern Medical College Hospital in Dhaka.
However, none of the four cases were reported by the control room of DGHS that is compiling the data of patients across Bangladesh.
Director at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Meerjady Sabrina Flora said the hospitals across Bangladesh send them reports on deaths of patients, but the institute confirms the deaths from dengue, only if its own investigation finds that to be true.
The DGHS data shows that the number of dengue diagnosis is on the rise outside of Dhaka as well, as 373 cases have been reported so far in different districts under six divisions—Dhaka division, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal, and Sylhet—till 8am yesterday.