The risk posed by Chikungunya in Dhaka has decreased considerably compared to July, but public health specialists have warned that the capital is suffering under conditions favourable to a dengue outbreak.
The Senior Scientific Officer at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) ASM Alamgir said that an outbreak of dengue is a possibility. He highlighted that this year’s long monsoon season would facilitate the virus’ spread.
Alamgir encouraged Dhaka residents to take special precautions against dengue.
Director of Health Department's Directorate of Disease Control, Professor Sania Tahmina concurred, adding that the aedes mosquito, which was responsible for transmitting Chikungunya, was also a vector for dengue.
Chikungunya, which reach epidemic proportions earlier this year, was finally bought under control at the end of July. However, those who survived the infection are still suffering from its after-effects, namely severe join pain. Many are yet to fully recover.
According to IEDCR, 950 people were diagnosed with Chikungunya at the institution medical centre between 9 April and 17 August. July saw the most diagnoses.
The IEDCR also reported that 10,931 people suffering from arthralgia, severe joint pain caused by Chikungunya, were treated in hospitals around Dhaka between 12 May and 17 August.
The institute opened a control centre in early July to serve as an open information desk, through which people could seek advice from doctors regarding Chikungunya. Over 4,200 people had used the service between 6 July and 17 August.
Dhaka Medical College (DMCH) Director Brigadier General Mizanur Rahman said that the number of patients treated for Chikungunya at the hospital had been reducing.
He said: "Many patients are still admitted at the hospital due to arthralgia. Around 2,045 received treatment at DMCH outdoor service, of which 1,242 people were admitted in June and 805 were admitted in July.
Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, which has treated 1,884 Chikungunya patients, has created a dedicated department to address the Chikungunya outbreak.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University’s Medicine Faculty Dean ABM Abdullah said that Chikungunya is no longer an epidemic like it has been during the last two months. He highlighted that the number of newly infected patients had been dropping.
He also said, however, that he did not consider a dengue outbreak to be likely although he encouraged Dhaka residents to take precautions and not to be complacent.
According to the National Health Crisis Management Centre, a total of 254 people were infected with Dengue in Dhaka between January and April. This is considerably higher than the 68 that were infected during the same period the previous year.
Government statistics show that 660 dengue cases, with tow deaths, have been reported this year in Dhaka.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune