National, Back Page

Dengue situation worsens

Published : 02 Sep 2021 10:04 PM | Updated : 03 Sep 2021 01:16 AM

The mosquito borne dengue situation has become worse in the country, particularly in Dhaka city, than in the past. 

Doctors said that although the number of dengue patients is still less than in the past, the rate of serious patients is higher than in 2019. However, the number of hospitalized dengue patients is increasing day by day at different hospitals in the capital.

“In 2019, the situation would not have been worse before five days. This time blood platelets of the dengue patient are declining very quickly. The blood platelets are declining in three to four days, while water is coming in the stomach and chest and bleeding is reported in a short time. In the previous four days, we did not expect anything critical, but this time it is different,” Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, a doctor at Sir Salimullah Medical College and Mitford Hospital (SMCMH) in Dhaka, told the media. 

More than 1000 dengue patients have been admitted to SMCMH this year till now. According to the health department, a total of 10,651 dengue patients sought treatment this year until now. Of them, 6,798 patients came in August alone. A total of 45 people have died of dengue this year so far.

Researchers on dengue said that virologists and health experts should now work on providing fresh health guidelines and cautious measures to deal with the new dengue cases. 

The dengue situation has worsened at the time when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Residents of Dhaka city are worried over the serious situation. 

Many people blamed the authorities of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) for the worse situation. 

Walid Talukder, a resident of Moghbazar area in the capital said that the dengue situation would not have turned serious if the city corporations had destroyed breeding grounds of Aedes mosquitoes, which are responsible for the viral disease from the beginning of monsoon.

However, experts and policy analysts blamed city dwellers also for the situation. They said that the dengue situation takes an alarming turn in Dhaka, as many city dwellers don’t keep their homes clean to contain Aedes mosquitoes, while the authorities of city corporations don’t take effective measures in this regard. The authorities are busier with awareness campaigns than containing mosquitoes. 

Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin, secretary of Center for Law and Policy Affairs (CLPA), told this correspondent that the dengue situation becomes worse in absence of effective measures. Both the ‘citizens’ and the ‘city corporations’ have the responsibilities for preventing breeding grounds which are the main sources of dengue virus and hence the transmission.

The ‘citizens’ will keep their house and surroundings clean, while the ‘city corporation’ will clean the area under its jurisdiction. As well as fulfilling its responsibilities, the ‘city corporation’ will ensure that every citizen keeps their home clean. It is the problem that both ‘citizen’ and the ‘city corporation’ are not fulfilling their respective responsibilities, he added. 

Despite widespread awareness over the past 19 years, conventional action has been taken to eradicate dengue mosquito breeding grounds without creating legal obligations and responsibilities for citizens and city corporations. 

Such practice has exacerbated the problem. Dengue is still a mega city disease. However, the disease could spread across the country if the remedial measures are slowed down due to the short-sightedness of the city corporations, he added. 

Syed Mahbubul Alam Tahin said that the city corporations of Dhaka can take action over the dengue situation as per the communicable disease control law and some other laws. 

Asked, Lt Col Md Golam Mostafa Sarwar, Deputy Chief Health Officer of DNCC, told Bangladesh Post, “Many far behind in taking action to eradicate Aedes mosquito population. But we have been working on controlling mosquito population since April. Maybe we have some failures, we may not be able to make people aware, however it cannot done overnight. It will take time. We are working seriously to control spread of dengue.”

He further said that city corporations can’t do much if the people are not aware and don’t play a vital role in containing the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes. 

City corporations may work directly to control Aedes mosquitoes in 30% of the city areas. The rest has to be done by the homeowners and the residents. If one does not keep his own house and yard clean, Aedes mosquitoes will spread. If an Aedes mosquito is born in someone’s house, it can bite at least five people. So the people must be aware alongside the city corporations, he added. 

A study of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) also reports that the dengue situation is more dangerous than ever. The study says that this time blood platelets are declining very quickly, while the dengue patient has to be rushed to the hospital within a short time. Work on providing fresh health guidelines and cautious measures are needed to deal with the new dengue cases, said researchers of the BCSIR. 

The researchers found four types of dengue, including a new variant that is more infectious. The deadliest variant is Dengue Virus Type 3 (DENV-3), which is affecting most people. The three other variants DENV-1, DENV-2, and DENV-4,

The BCSIR discovered the variants during genome sequencing at its lab.  Dr Md Salim Khan, principal scientific officer of the BCSIR, confirmed the matter. 

“We have conducted genome sequencing in a total of 20 samples of dengue patients this year. All the variants matched to the DENV-3. So, it can be said that the new variant is dominating the dengue cases in Dhaka,” said a BCSIR official. 

He said that many people are being infected with the new dengue variant. The number of children who are being infected with the virus is worrying than past.