• Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:23 pm

Dengue risks rising amid coronavirus pandemic

  • Published at 10:09 pm April 3rd, 2020
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File photo: Dengue patients receive treatment at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

About 300cases of dengue have been reported  this year, while the figure was only 73 last year for the same period

Although Dhaka city dwellers have been complaining about their increasing sufferings due to mosquitoes, the authorities concerned of both the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) claimed that their employees are working to their maximum capacity to kill adult mosquitoes.

City dwellers alleged that mosquitoes are now getting intolerable both at night and the day, reports UNB.

Anti-mosquito drives by both city corporations have become very slow after the last city corporation elections on February 1 this year, they said.

Md Nizam Uddin, 40, a shop owner living at Adarshanagar of Mirpur-11, said despite shutting all the windows and doors he cannot stay at home as an unlimited number of mosquitoes are already in the room.

“We have to use two mosquito coils in the evening every day. We have to use mosquito coil at noon too,” he said.

Replying to a question, he said the DNCC employees appeared very active before the last election. “I did not see anyone spray anti-mosquito medicine for the last two weeks,” he said.

He fears there will be a proliferation of Aedes mosquitoes - the carriers of dengue - this year again much like last year if the corporation does not take initiatives immediately.

Moshtaque Ahmed, a resident of Middle Basabo under the DSCC said: “Mosquito infestation has increased greatly within the last few weeks. We are staying inside our flat all day and night closing the doors and windows and using the anti-mosquito spray.”

Replying to a question, he also said he has not seen any employee of the corporation spraying anti-mosquito aerosol for the last month in their locality.

He added: “I fear the outbreak of dengue again this year, which will be very much unfortunate for the city dwellers, as the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak looms.”

Contacted, Dr Manzur Chowdhury, an entomologist and former president of Geological Society of Bangladesh, said dirty water is stagnant in city drains and most of them are uncovered. Drains and canals, which are organically polluted, are great breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Replying to a question, the entomologist said: “Around 300 dengue cases were reported from January to March this year, while the figure was only 73 last year. It indicates that dengue may hit again this year.”

“So, the authorities have to take immediate initiative to destroy the breeding grounds of Aedes mosquito. Otherwise, it would become intolerable,” said Dr Manzur.

What the city corporations say

DSCC Chief Health Officer Brigadier General Dr Sharif Ahmed said, though the employees of the corporation are fearful of possible infection of coronavirus, they are spraying disinfectant water on the streets to prevent coronavirus outbreak alongside insecticide on Culex and Aedes mosquito breeding grounds giving their maximum efforts.

“We have already identified the hotspots of Aedes mosquitoes breeding grounds in February and in the meantime we have completed two crash programs to destroy the sources of Aedes mosquito. We also declared ward numbers 5, 6, 11, 17, 37 and 42 as vulnerable ones,” he added.

“We are trying to give relief to our city-dwellers from both the outbreak of Culex and dengue working with utmost efforts,” he said.

Contacted, DNCC Panel Mayor Md Zamal Mostafa denied the allegation of slow work in spraying adulticide and larvicide to destroy both Aedes and Culex mosquitoes.

“We are fighting against Aedes and Culex mosquitoes. In the meantime, coronavirus has appeared as a curse. So, we are continuing to spray adulticide and larvicide on the breeding grounds alongside disinfectant solutions on the city streets,” he said.

Replying to a question, the DNCC Panel Mayor said they have sufficient stock of adulticide, larvicide, Malaria B oil, and other pesticides to destroy mosquitoes and their breeding grounds.

“We have previous experience in fighting against Aedes mosquitoes and we have already started our work accordingly to prevent the outbreak of dengue this year,” he added.

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