• Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022
  • Last Update : 07:54 am

Dengue fever death toll hits highest level on record

  • Published at 06:20 pm October 12th, 2018
Aedes mosquito Bigstock

According to sources at the Health Emergency and Control Room of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 39 new patients were hospitalized in Dhaka on Thursday, raising the total number of those infected by the mosquito-borne disease this year to 6,694

Bangladesh has suffered more deaths from dengue fever in 2018 than in any other year since records began at the turn of this century.

According to sources at the Health Emergency and Control Room of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 39 new patients were hospitalized in Dhaka on Thursday, raising the total number of those infected by the mosquito-borne disease this year to 6,694.

The previous highest was the 6,232 cases confirmed in 2002.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Medicine Department Professor ABM Abdullah said he was concerned by the numbers. 

“Both the situation of dengue prevalence and infections are at an alarming stage,” he said. 

“Dengue can never take an epidemic form if we could develop a healthy environment and improve the drainage system in the cities.” 

Professor Abdullah said that among the four types of dengue, the third and fourth types can cause deaths. 

“We have found patients suffering mostly from the first and second types, but this year we have found people suffering from the third type,” he said.

According to official records, 287 people have died from dengue since 2000, with 17 fatalities recorded this year alone.

Physicians and health service sources said the numbers may be higher, as many patients die before being diagnosed.

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) senior scientist ASM Alamgir said many patients can recover from dengue without showing any syndromes.

“(However) in a few cases, it becomes lethal after turning into a hemorrhagic fever,” he said.

“Every year from June to November there is a high prevalence of dengue infection (and) the situation becomes worse in the July-September period.”

Human carriers

Dengue fever is transmitted through aedes mosquitoes, which usually breed in the country between January and August.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infected humans become the main carriers and multipliers of the dengue virus, serving as a source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes.

In May, the DGHS and city corporations conducted a survey to find out dengue prevalence and the prior infection situation ahead of this year’s monsoon. 

DGHS officials said the survey showed the density of aedes mosquitoes was 28.45% in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and 32.44% in Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC). In July, the rates jumped to 40%. 

Experts say a 20% density of aedes poses a “tolerable level of risk”.

According to Akhtaruzzaman, the deputy program manager (dengue and malaria) of Department of Disease Control under the DGHS, the survey further pointed out that dengue prevalence and extension probability was found in at least 25 wards in DNCC and 42 wards in DSCC.

Dhaka residents have slammed the city corporations’ failure to prevent the dengue outbreak. They said the huge number of construction sites is contributing to the favourable conditions for the mosquitoes to breed. 

The city corporations officials, however, said said the construction works are not the reason for the outbreak. They said they were trying their best to solve the problem and were considering preemptive measures.

“We are working to control mosquitoes,” DNCC Chief Health Officer Brig Gen Md Zakir Hassan said. “We are also running awareness campaigns involving students and teachers of various schools

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