Bangladesh grappling to stem dengue outbreak: experts

Bangladesh has been grappling to stem dengue outbreak as July was the deadliest month since detection of the mosquito-borne disease in 2000 while experts predicted the dengue situation may deteriorate further in the coming August and September.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), July alone recorded 43,854 dengue positive cases with 204 deaths while 7,884 dengue positive cases were recorded and 32 people died from the disease in the past three days of August.

Talking to BSS, several entomologists said that dengue by now emerged as an epidemic as it spread all over the country but observed that the concerned agencies, particularly city corporations could not take required steps to annihilate mosquitoes.

Dr Ayesha Akhtar, assistant director of Shyamali TB Hospital, said, “Dengue was detected in Bangladesh for the first time in 2000 and it has turned into epidemic at the beginning of rainy season this year and the dengue situation will be more severe, if the rising trend continue.”

“We have to take preventive steps particularly destroying breeding sources of Aedes mosquito to stop outbreak of dengue disease,” she added.

City dwellers must be cautious about stagnant water which is the main source of breeding of Aedes mosquito, Ayesha said, adding that even a small quantity of water can grow Aedes mosquitoes leading to the spread of such deadly disease.

She said even if a small quantity of water is left stagnant in any broken pot, tyre, vas or container inside and outside homes and offices, it can be breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes.

Ayesha urged the city dwellers to remain careful about sources of stagnant water as most of the people in the country have utter negligence to keep their surroundings neat and clean.

Health experts have described community mobilization as the most effective initiative to control dengue outbreak as the country is in the grip of the mosquito-borne disease.

“Community engagement is very crucial to prevent dengue disease, they said adding all relevant organizations should work in a coordinated manner to rein in dengue outbreak.

“City corporations must intensify their efforts at the quickest possible time to kill mosquitoes of all kinds, instead of searching for dengue carrying Aedes breeding grounds alone,” entomologist Professor Kabirul Bashar of Jahangirnagar University told BSS.

Unfortunately, he said, the municipal authorities could not do so yet despite being expected, while several Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) officials echoed him.

“City corporations are tasked to annihilate mosquitoes but their performance is not satisfactory enough, a situation which is increasing our pressures with higher number of patients with not much treatment options,” a senior DGHS official said preferring anonymity.

South City Corporation’s Chief Health Officer Dr Fazle Shamsul Kabir claimed several tropical countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia were exposed to higher onslaughts of dengue.

Countries like Brazil, Argentina and Peru in South America were also witnessing an identical scenario, he said, adding currently dengue was being considered as a global health burden.

“The number of dengue patients had been increasing alarmingly since January this year giving a signal of dengue pandemic during rainy season as 566 dengue cases were reported in the first month of the year, which are almost five times higher than that of same period of past three years,” a DGHS official added.

The outbreak of dengue has put massive pressure on public hospitals, private-run diagnostic centres and clinics in Dhaka city as the mosquito-borne disease is increasing alarmingly in the country.

According to authorities and officials concerned of hospitals and healthcare facilities, Bangladesh has so far recorded a large number of dengue positive cases and the outbreak has turned into a pandemic creating huge pressure on the entire healthcare system particularly in Dhaka city.

“Nearly 800 people are coming to Mugda Medical College and Hospital for performing dengue tests simultaneously around 150 dengue patients are visiting our hospital for admission,” Director of Mugda Medical College and Hospital Dr Md Niatuzzaman told BSS today.

He said, “In order to cope with increased the number of dengue patients, we are expanding treatment facilities . . .four dedicated dengue units have been set up at the hospital incorporating all logistics supports.”

Since the beginning of dengue outbreak, the Mugda hospital has been overcrowded with dengue suspected cases and the entire healthcare system of the hospital is working sincerely to provide treatment facilities to dengue patients, he added.

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