The number of dengue patients in the country has exceeded 50,000. Hospitals are overflowing with this unprecedented influx of dengue patients.
Last year a total of 10,148 dengue patients had been admitted to hospitals all around the country. That record was broken in July this year with the admission of 16,253 patients to various hospitals. And just in the first 16 days of August, over 31,500 patients were admitted.
Dengue season begins in April and ends in October, with the highest number of patients generally being affected in September. Given the present weather conditions, entomologist Manzur Chowdhury told Prothom Alo, “It is not likely that the incidence of dengue will decrease any time soon. All measures must be stepped up to keep people away from mosquitoes.”
The health directorate’s health emergency operations centre and control room has said that according to information from 10 government and semi-government hospitals, 30 private hospitals and civil surgeons around the country, a total of 1719 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals on Friday. They put the number of dengue patients this year at 49,999. Of the, 42,243 have been released from hospital after treatment.
Given the burgeoning number of patients, the health ministry has opened a special dengue ward at the national orthopaedic hospital (better known as pangu hospital).
Coordinator of the ward AHM Akhteruzzaman on Friday, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, a 14-year-old girl with dengue was admitted to the ward on that day. Two children with dengue were admitted to Mahanagar Shishu Hospital on Friday too.
These two hospitals are not on the government’s list. Referring to this, assistant director of the health emergency operations centre and control room, Ayesha Akhter, told Prothom Alo that the number of dengue patients in hospitals exceeded 50,000.
The actual number of patients, however, is much higher. Not all information from hospitals around the country comes to the health emergency operations centre and control room in Dhaka.
There is also no record of how many patients are being treated at physicians’ private chambers. Almost all government and semi-government hospitals are providing outdoor treatment to dengue patients too.
At Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University alone, this year 5,300 dengue patients have been treated so far at the outdoor department. There is no collective record of all this information.
According to government records, so far 40 patients have died of dengue this year. However, Prothom Alo reports put this number at 145, based in information from various hospitals, civil surgeons and families of the patients.
Of the 40 persons who died of dengue according to official records, 27 died of dengue shock syndrome. Last the year the main cause of dengue deaths was dengue haemorrhagic fever. This year it is dengue shock syndrome.
Dengue has increased exponentially this year due to the failure of the two Dhaka city corporations to tackle the Aedes mosquito menace.
Virologist Nurul Islam, speaking to Prothom Alo, said, “This is the first time in Bangladesh’s history that so many people have been admitted to hospital for a disease in such a short span of time.”
* This report appeared in the print edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir