As many as 373 patients have so far been diagnosed with the viral disease outside Dhaka this year with a sharp rise in dengue cases in the past two days, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
The number of dengue patients in the hospitals outside Dhaka stood at 47 on Thursday, while 200 others have been released earlier. The number jumped to 373 on Saturday, with a rise of 126 patients in a day.
The government’s Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research or IEDCR recorded five dengue cases outside Dhaka last year, according to its Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora.
Dr Mahmudur Rahman, a former director at the IEDCR, urged the authorities to take steps to prevent the disease from spreading across the country. He also called for raising awareness among the people.
It won’t be surprising in the present circumstances if the dengue outbreak spreads outside Dhaka, because people travel from one place to another and they can carry the virus while Aedes mosquito is everywhere, he told.
There is no alternative to raising awareness. Places around the buildings must be cleaned to prevent the spread of dengue, he added. Dengue first struck Bangladesh in 2000, killing 93 people. Since 2003, the death rate has gradually declined with zero fatalities in some years.
But last year it took a devastating turn with over 10,000 infections and 26 deaths, according to the government statistics. This year, according to the government control room, hospitals admitted more than 10,528 dengue patients and of them, 7,849 returned home after receiving treatment.
At least 25 people have died from the mosquito-borne disease so far this year, according to a correspondent count, though the official record has put the death toll at eight. Experts fear the actual number of dengue patients is much higher as all of them are not recorded officially.
Hospitals in Dhaka are packed with dengue patients so much amid the outbreak that their relatives have to rush from one hospital to another to get their loved ones urgent medical attention.
The government hospitals, including the DMCH, are keeping dengue patients on the floors and corridors with the beds fully booked while the doctors are struggling to attend to so many patients.
Dengue patients at a hospital in Rangpur outside Dhaka, doctors said the number of dengue patients was rising, but the physicians were sending the critically ill patients to Dhaka due to a lack of necessary equipment for treatment.
Gazipur is the most hit district outside Dhaka with 61 patients diagnosed with dengue at the Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital. As many as 49 cases have been recorded in Feni and 40 in Bogura.
Most of the dengue patients outside Dhaka were in the capital when they contacted the virus, but travelled to their ancestral homes, doctors in the district-level hospitals and DGHS Director (Disease Control) Dr Sanya Tahmina.
They have suggested keeping the patients in mosquito nets and taking other precautionary steps to prevent the spread of the disease. According to the WHO, the global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent of the dengue mosquito.
About half of the world’s population is now at risk. There is no specific treatment for dengue or severe dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below 1 percent. Dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures.
Dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti, breeds in clean water mostly in and around the houses. Household flower vase, buckets and tubes, where water remains stored are the perfect place for the breeding.