Sharif, an auto-rickshaw driver who attended his ailing mother for four days at a hospital in the capital, was diagnosed with dengue when back to Feni, his home district.
Ariful Islam, a transport worker in Jatrabari in Dhaka, went to his home in Pabna, with pain in the body. He was found infected with dengue fever at the district sadar hospital, where he remained hospitalised for five days. Like Sharif and Ariful, hundred others had left the capital with dengue infection and received treatment in their respective areas.
According to the statistics at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), dengue has spread to Gazipur, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Feni, Pabna, Cumilla, Chandpur, Brahmanbaria, Kishoreganj, Chattogram, Laxmipur, Kushtia, Khulna, Jashore, Jhenidah, Bogura and Barisal districts apart from Dhaka.
So far 373 persons have been found infected with dengue outside Dhaka. Of them, 61 have been infected in Gazipur, 3 each in Munshiganj and Jhenidah, 13 in Narayanganj, 49 each in Chattogram and Feni, 29 in Chandpur, 5 in Noakhali, 4 each in Brahmanbaria and Laxmipur, 19 in Kushtia, 14 in Khulna, 20 in Jashore, 40 in Bogura, 57 in Rajshahi, 35 in Barishal, 13 in Sylhet and 1 each in Kishoreganj and Cumilla. They are undergoing treatment at different hospitals in their areas.
Generally, dengue is spread through the bite of a female Aedes mosquito. However, according to physicians, a man can be infected with the deadly virus if any mosquito bites him/her after biting a dengue patient.
Dr Ayesha Akter, assistant director at the Health Emergency Operation Centre and Control Room of DGHS, told The Business Standard that dengue patients in the districts outside Dhaka has been found in increasing numbers this year, compared to previous years. Most of them are returnees from Dhaka.
She said, dengue cases among the locals are low.
The DGHS advised dengue patients not to go outside the capital to ensure their better treatment, and prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Speaking to directors at hospitals and civil surgeons at the district level, it has been known that dengue patients are those who went back to their home districts after a visit to Dhaka. In most of the cases, locals have not been diagnosed with dengue.
Dr Md Niatuzzaman, civil surgeon in Feni, said almost all the dengue patients found in the district came from Dhaka.
Dr Mehedi Iqbal, civil surgeon in Pabna, noted the same as Dr Md Niatuzzaman, saying, “We have sent a letter to the DGHS, seeking necessary fund for treating dengue patients.”
First dengue patient in Bagura was found on July 18, and the number now rose to 56. Thirty-six of them are undergoing treatment at Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Hospital, while the others returned home after recovery.
The hospital authority has set up a team for treating the dengue patients.
Dr Arifur Rahman, a member of the team, said that so far all the dengue patients they had received were returnees from Dhaka. He expressed his fear that dengue may spread among locals through these returning patients.
Dr ABM Abdullah, former dean of the medicine faculty at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told The Business Standard that all must work in a coordinated way to prevent dengue. He said, the government and city corporations will have to work in unison to prevent the proliferation of the mosquitoes. He added, Aedes mosquitoes are now being found outside Dhaka.
This year dengue situation has already crossed all past records. The number of dengue patients undergoing treatment at different hospitals across the country stood at 11,654 on July 28 (8,725 patients already returned home after taking treatment). In the last 24 hours, 824 more people have been admitted to different hospitals after getting infected with dengue virus.
According to the government, so far eight persons died of dengue. However, unofficial sources put the number at about 35.
Prof Abul Kalam Azad, director general of DGHS, asked the dengue infected people not to go outside of the capital during the upcoming Eid.
In Bangladesh, dengue was first identified in 2000, when as many people as 5,551 were found infected with the deadly virus; 93 of them died, as per the DGHS data.
Last year 10,148 persons suffered from the viral fever, and at least 26 of them succumbed to their illness.