The Financial Express

Bangladesh braces for dengue outbreak in winter amid coronavirus pandemic

| Updated: October 31, 2020 16:41:34

- UNB/Files - UNB/Files

The number of dengue cases has increased when it is supposed to drop ahead of winter as Bangladesh, like the other countries, continues to battle the novel coronavirus.

Generally, cases of the mosquito-borne dengue fever peak during monsoon in the middle of a year, but this time most infections were reported after the end of the rainy season.

As many as 602 people, including 516 in Dhaka city, were diagnosed with the disease this year in Bangladesh until Thursday, reports bdnews24.com.

The highest number of cases, 138, was reported in October, with the rate rising in the past 10 days, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.

One of the October patients, Zahidur Rashid Sumon, a physician, died on Oct 25 in hospital care.

After the emergence of the disease in 2000, Bangladesh recorded the highest number of dengue cases during last year’s outbreak.

More than 100,000 people were infected and nearly 175 of them died in 2019, according to government data.

Experts believe the actual figure was much higher because many people did not undergo test.

Only a few cases were reported during monsoon this year amid the coronavirus lockdown and the restrictions on public movement that followed.

Entomologist Dr Kabirul Bashar believes the number of dengue cases peaked in October due to a change in the pattern of rainfall caused by climate change.

It rained more than usual in October, which led to an increased breeding of Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the dengue virus, according to Dr Bashar who is a professor of Jahangirnagar University’s zoology department.

“And more people are going to hospital as the coronavirus situation has improved. This development has led to a spike in the number of reported dengue cases,” he added, emphasising mosquito-killing programmes throughout the year.

Mayor Atiqul Islam said Dhaka North City Corporation is aware of the rise in the number of dengue cases.

He said the city corporation would resume a programme to kill mosquitos on Nov 2, focusing on the areas where the cases were reported and the surrounding of hospitals.

“We also have data where the Aedes larvae were found the most last year. We will prioritise those areas as well,” he said.

He urged citizens to keep their surroundings clean and free from stagnant water and pots where mosquitos can breed.

“We are conducting mobile court drives besides adulticiding and larviciding,” said Md Abu Naser, a spokesman for Dhaka South City Corporation.


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