Around 10 per cent of the dengue infected children admitted to hospitals are below five years of age, show the data on infected patients, deaths and age ranges provided by two sections of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
But the death rate of those children is higher in comparison to the ratio of infected patients admitted to hospitals, an analysis of their data shows.
The two sections are Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and Health Emergency Operations and Control Room.
As per the government data, a total of 7,272 children that is 10 per cent of the total dengue patients were admitted into hospital this year from January to 7 September.
IEDCR recorded 203 deaths, of which, it confirmed that 68 died of dengue after analysing 116 cases so far.
In that time, 10 children (15 per cent) of the total died are below 5-year-old. However, a total of 37 per cent children died of dengue infection so far.
Mentioning that the younger patients are more vulnerable, Abid Hossain Molla, professor at the Department of Paediatrics in BIRDEM General Hospital told Prothom Alo that children and elderly people are at higher risk of death due to dengue.
Especially, the younger children are at greater risk, he added.
“In dengue shortage of fluid in blood vessels causes low blood pressure that makes the blood flow irregular in children’s brain, heart, kidney and lungs. Then again, there are possibilities of haemorrhage due to lack of protein and platelet,” he explained.
More deaths due to shock syndrome
Analysing the deaths of 10 children who were below five it is found that seven of them died of shock syndrome. Each of them had been undergoing treatment in hospital for more than eight days.
According to government data, more patients died of dengue haemorrhagic fever last year. But this year, more died of dengue shock syndrome.
There are four serotypes of dengue namely, DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. Most of the patients are infected by DENV-3 this year. The experts said it is difficult to identify the DENV-3 virus attack syndromes correctly.
Referring to the difficulties to find out the reason of high death rates because of shock syndrome, IEDCR director Meerjady Sabrina told Prothom Alo, as people are more conscious now, deaths in dengue haemorrhagic declined this year.
“Many patients were shifted from one hospital to another. That could be another reason for growing deaths in shock syndrome,” she added.
Such a victim is 4-year-old Runa Akter. She died of shock syndrome on 29 August, just one day after she was taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Dhaka Shishu Hospital.
The girl child had gone under treatment in a local hospital in Dohar before she was taken to the Shishu Hospital.
The experts say, the main symptom of dengue shock syndrome is, the patient gets faint due to dehydration caused by the shortage of fluid in blood.
“It’s difficult to indentify shock syndrome manually. That is why the death rate is high due to it. The shock syndrome can be identified by diagnosing blood pressure and platelet count in blood. Also, lack of fluid management may increase the death risk,” said epidemiologist at Dhaka Shishu Hospital, Kinkar Ghosh.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat