Covid-19 weakening, dengue rising

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Information from 41 hospitals in Dhaka shows 905 dengue patients are undergoing treatment at these hospitals and 127 are being treated now in districts outside the capital

News Desk

The Covid-19 infections have been decreasing in the country over the last few days, which is a matter of relief for everyone, but the number of hospital admissions and deaths due to dengue has been increasing, causing much fear and anxiety.

In the 27 days of this month of August, 8,846 dengue patients have been admitted to different hospitals, which is about 71% of the total number of dengue cases for the whole year so far. As many as 28 people have died in the same period.

The information provided by 41 hospitals in Dhaka indicates 905 dengue patients are undergoing treatment at these hospitals and at present, 127 are receiving treatment in districts outside the capital.

Experts say the dengue is on the rise due to the absence of year-round mosquito eradication programmes and a lack of awareness about the Aedes mosquito.

According to the Health Department’s control room, 184 dengue patients were admitted to various hospitals across the country in the last 24 hours till 8am on Thursday. The total number of infected patients this year is 9,304 and at least, 8,230 people have returned home after receiving treatment in hospitals this year.

According to the authorities of different hospitals, the death rate of children is higher among dengue patients in the hospitals of Dhaka. Till Friday morning, 410 children were admitted to Dhaka Children’s Hospital this year due to dengue, of whom more than 100 had to be taken to ICU for treatment. At present, a total of 61 dengue-infected children are admitted.

Kinkar Ghosh, a pathologist at Dhaka Children’s Hospital, told The Business Standard (TBS) that more children than adults are infected in dengue outbreaks every year. So far this year, seven children have died and seven are undergoing treatment in the ICU of Dhaka Children’s Hospital. Of all child patients, 65% are from Dhaka North, 22% from Dhaka South, and 12% from outside Dhaka.

More children between the ages of five and 10 are infected with dengue, he added.

Experts estimate that more than two lakh people have been infected with dengue in the country.

According to various studies by entomologists, the number of patients admitted to hospitals in Dhaka is at least 20 times the number of dengue patients currently declared by the Department of Health.

Entomologist and President of the Dhaka Centre for Governance Studies, Dr Manzur Ahmed Chowdhury, told TBS the city corporation does not acknowledge that the number of dengue stricken people is getting to be more than what they say.

The entomologist also mentioned that ordinary people are undergoing home treatment and are going to the hospital only when it turns into a crisis.

People in the city are not benefiting from the reported daily, intense public awareness and Aedes mosquito eradication campaigns of the two city corporations, to quash dengue and chikungunya in different areas of the city. Owners of various buildings and houses have been fined several lakh of taka in daily mobile court raids, to no avail.

Experts consider these activities to be eyewash. They say if the two city corporations in Dhaka had been alert about the Aedes mosquito from the beginning of this year, dengue would not have spread like an epidemic.

Dr Manjur Ahmed told TBS, if the city corporation had been proactive before the spread of Aedes mosquito infections, dengue would not have been so bad. At this point, spraying mosquito repellent will not be of any significant benefit. Infections can be avoided as much as possible by being aware of one’s own place and surroundings, and on individual initiatives.

Suggesting that dengue infections will start to go down in the next two to three weeks, the pathologist said, “Reviewing dengue infection patterns of past years, we have seen, usually dengue infections trend upwards for two to two and a half months and then decline. As such, infections will start to go down by mid-September.”

Former Director of the Department of Health (Disease Control), Professor Be-Nazir Ahmed blamed the unprofessionalism of the city corporations and the lack of entomologists.

“One city corporation is run by one or two entomologists and those who work in mosquito eradication are not professional subject matter experts in this field. It is not possible to reduce Aedes mosquito infections with mosquito repellents or cleaners without proper review by the right kind of entomologists,” he added.

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