Shoshi, a third grader at the capital’s Mohammadpur Preparatory School, has been suffering from fever since August 1.
Her blood test the next day confirmed that the 11-year-old girl was infected with dengue, and accordingly she was admitted to the Dhaka Shishu Hospital.
Physicians said it will take some more days for Shoshi to recover from the mosquito-borne viral fever.
“We use mosquito nets in the house. The house is cleaned regularly. I think Shoshi was bitten by Aedes mosquitoes at her school,” said Shoshi’s mother Kanta Akter.
Another KG-2 student at British Standard School in the city’s Wari, Arian, 8, also remains under treatment at the dengue cell in the Children’s Ward of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
This year, people of all ages are being affected with dengue. Among the children, however, school-goers like Shoshi and Arian are being infected more in number.
Guardians claim that children are being bitten by mosquitoes in their schools. Neither the school authorities nor the city corporations have taken any significant steps to destroy Aedes mosquitoes.
As a result, many parents demanded closure of schools until the situation improves.
Epidemiologist Kinkor Ghosh at the Shishu Hospital conducted a research on 485 dengue patients who have been infected in between May and late July this year.
The study showed children aged between 6 and 11 years, who are mainly school-goers, have been affected the most (53 percent).
Also, 30 percent of the patients under the study were between 3 and 5 years.
The rate of infection in children aged between 1 and 2 years was 11 percent, while six percent were below one year.
Another age-based study on 3,000 dengue patients conducted by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), also found the percentage of dengue infection is comparatively high among school-going children aged between 5 and 15 years.
Renowned medicine specialist Dr ABM Abdullah told The Business Standard that Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during daytime. This is the time when children remain in schools; so it is possible that many are bitten there.
Dr Abdullah also said children are more vulnerable as their disease resistance is relatively low.
Among dengue patients, the internal haemorrhage is much more common. As children go into shock syndrome very soon, their blood pressure falls and pulse cannot be felt too, he added.
The death rate among children is higher as their kidney and liver may fail very quickly, he further said.
Raiyan Sarker, 12, a student of Mohammadpur Model School and College died of dengue on August 2. Earlier, a third grader – Zarifa Jahan, 9 – died of dengue on July 28.
At least five school students have so far died of the disease.
Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of IEDCR, said, as dengue prevalence has gone up, people’s awareness about keeping their households clean has also increased.
“What is now necessary is emphasis must be given on keeping educational institutions and workplaces clean too. Because, now it rains intermittently, creating water stagnation to help Aedes mosquitoes be born in large populations,” she said.
However, Shahida Sumy, a teacher at Cardiff International School, said, as the dengue situation has worsened, schools have strengthened their awareness raising and cleanliness programmes.
She said her school has been spraying insecticides with their own initiatives, and cleanliness activities there has been increased too.
Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam said the corporation has already held several meetings with principals, teachers, school secretaries and scout chiefs at all schools in the DNCC areas.
They have been requested to keep their school premises clean with their own management, Atiqul said.
The DNCC mayor further said awareness-making videos have been sent to responsible persons in every school and education board too.
About whether the number of Eid holidays will be increased in this situation, Atiqul said Eid vacation in every educational institution will start from August 8.
2,348 hospitalised in a single day
The number of dengue patients in hospitals is rising every day.
A total of 7,968 dengue patients are now under treatment in government and private hospitals across the country.
As many as 2,348 dengue patients have been admitted to hospitals in the last 24 hours.
In the first six days of August, the number of dengue patients has stood at 11,451.
As per data obtained from the Directorate General of Health Services, a total of 29,912 persons have been affected with dengue since January.
So far, 23 persons have died, although unofficial data say the death toll has already crossed 80.