It is a serious cause for concern that the Directorate General of Health Services has warned of a possible rise in dengue fever this year.
A worrying prospect indeed -- last year’s chikungunya outbreak went out of hand, and we do not want a repeat of that this year.
But it is good to see that the DGHS assures us that the scope for such a massive outbreak is very limited this year. However, it is imperative that the government do all it can to prevent the spread of dengue before it becomes a real problem.
Bangladesh has had a history of dengue outbreaks -- the first officially recorded epidemic of dengue was in 2000, while the highest number of cases reported in a single year was 6,132 in 2002.
A lot of it has to do with the general lack of hygiene and cleanliness that is exhibited by our cities -- the accumulated waste along with dirty water triggers the high birthrate of the two types of mosquitoes of the Aedes variety, which are the main culprits in spreading dengue and chikungunya.
The city corporations are bracing for any impending dengue outbreak, and in these efforts they deserve praise, but we must remember that it always makes more sense for the administration to try and focus more on the root cause, which gives way to such mosquitos to breed at such overwhelming numbers in the first place.
Prevention is always better than cure.
Last year’s chikungunya outbreak showed us just how much of a debilitating force these mosquito-borne diseases can be.
We cannot risk another outbreak. We hope for proper coordination between the authorities concerned, and also greater civic responsibility in fighting dengue.