High-rises responsible for over 50% of the capital’s Aedes breeding grounds
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has identified six areas under Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and three under Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) as being more prone to a higher reproduction of Aedes mosquitoes than the rest of the capital.
In the study, “Monsoon Aedes Survey-2020,” released on Thursday, the DGHS also mentioned that multi-storey buildings account for more than half of the city’s Aedes mosquito breeding grounds.
A team of researchers working under its National Malaria Elimination and Aedes Transmitted Diseases Control Program conducted the 10-day study -- beginning July 19 -- at 2,999 households in 41 areas in DNCC and 59 areas in Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
The highest Breteau Index (BI) of 43.3 was found in Kalyanpur, Paikpara and Madhya Paikpara areas falling under Dhaka north ward No 11.
Meanwhile, Khilkhet, Kuril and Nikunja areas of DNCC’s ward No17 jointly with Mir Hazaribagh, Dholaipar and Gandaria of ward No11 under DSCC registered BI 40 — the second-highest score across the city.
BI measures the number of water-holding containers infested with larvae per 100 houses.
Shockingly, a whopping 51.34% Aedes mosquito breeding grounds are in high-rises, whereas the figure for under-construction buildings is 20.32%.
But going against the common notion, slum areas appear to be less suited to Aedes population expansion as they make up just 12.83% of the city’s total mosquito breeding grounds.
Afsana Alamgir Khan, deputy manager, National Malaria Elimination and Aedes Transmitted Diseases Control Program, told Dhaka Tribune that BI in the areas mentioned is not that threatening, recommending that city corporations and dwellers act sincerely to help stop mosquito breeding and so control the situation.
When contacted, Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, agreed with her and said: “If prompt measures are not taken and implemented, things may turn worse.
“We certainly don’t want a dengue outbreak now like that of last year. So the matter has to be addressed carefully and quickly,” he advised.
Entomologist Kabirul Bashar, however, said the spread of dengue is highly likely if the BI crosses the 20 mark.
“No fewer than 10 wards of the two city corporations recorded more than BI 20, which means they are facing the threat of dengue being spread,” said Kabirul, a zoology professor at Jahangirnagar University, who was involved with the research.
The peak time for dengue is August and September.
However, Kabirul, hoping that the dengue situation may not be as bad as that of last year, said: “Any viral outbreak strikes every alternative year and it is a common nature of viral diseases.”
In the past 24 hours, one person was hospitalized for dengue, taking the number of people undergoing treatment for the disease to 13. All dengue patients are from Dhaka.
So far this year, 379 people were hospitalized with dengue across the country. Of them as many as 365 were released after recovery.
Bangladesh experienced a massive dengue outbreak last year.
According to the government, in 2019 dengue claimed the lives of 164 people while 101,354 were hospitalized across Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the DNCC authorities on Thursday, the fifth day of an anti-mosquito campaign, conducted drives in 12,966 houses, under-construction buildings, and other infrastructures. They also conducted raids at 7,934 spots.
During the day-long drives, a total of 14 cases were filed and fines totalling Tk113,200 were imposed after Aedes larvae were found in 72 establishments.