- At present, the number of dengue patients in the country is at least 20 times more than the reported cases, say experts
- Modern pesticides and equipment are not used by city corporations in mosquito control activities
- City corporation officials claim that they are fulfilling their responsibilities
- Antibiotics cause death to dengue patients, should not be given in any way
- 7,698 people were infected in August and 5,104 in 18 days of this month
- The total number of infected patients this year stands at 15,460
- This year, the number of dengue patients has already reached the second highest level in 21 years
Entomologists say about 6,000 to 7,000 new cases of dengue are being reported in Dhaka every day.
At present, the number of dengue cases has exceeded 3 lakh, they said.
Speakers revealed the information at a seminar titled "Problems of Mosquito Control in the City: An Outline of Sustainable Solutions", organised by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) on Saturday.
The city corporation, however, says such information is misleading.
At the seminar, CGS Chairman and entomologist Dr Manjur Ahmed Chowdhury said the two city corporations could not take the required steps to control mosquitoes. Blaming the people for nothing, the city corporation authorities have contributed to the increasing infestation of Aedes mosquitoes. Our people's representatives and politicians have not been able to keep the promises they made.
Dr Manjur Chowdhury told The Business Standard, "At present, the number of dengue patients in the country is at least 20 times more than the reported cases. A study conducted by Lancet on dengue in Bangladesh in December 2019 revealed that the total number of dengue patients is 20 to 40 times more than the number treated in different hospitals in the country. Very few dengue patients are treated in the hospitals of our country."
He said the two city corporations are neither cleaning up the mosquito breeding grounds nor killing adult mosquitoes. As a result, none of their programmes are working.
"On the other hand, the tariff on pesticides is increasing day by day. As a result, people are not able to kill mosquitoes themselves. Tariff on pesticides is increasing at a time when it should be reduced. You have to pay up to 90% duty. Besides, there is a lot of trouble in importing pesticides and sometimes import comes to a stop," he added.
Addressing the seminar, Touhid Uddin Ahmed, medical entomologist and former principal scientific officer of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said, "This year, the number of dengue patients has already reached the second highest level in 21 years. It is embarrassing for the country that in the last 50 years, there has been no satisfactory solution to the mosquito problem. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of adequate manpower. The city corporations have no trained manpower."
"Mosquitoes are not dying through the adoption of the traditional strategy of our city corporations. Modern pesticides and equipment are not used in mosquito control activities. There is a lack of scientific action plan to prevent dengue or chikungunya epidemics," he added.
Observing that the dengue has been taking a terrible turn with citizens not regularly cleaning the flower tubs around the house, Gonoshasthaya Kendra Trustee Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said, "We are developing without thinking about the loss of others. I told the government to donate one crore mosquito nets to poor people, but it did not pay heed to the suggestion."
He added that antibiotics cause death to dengue patients. Antibiotics should not be given in any case. Most of the dengue fever is cured only by taking paracetamol regularly, but there is also a lack of paracetamol in our country. Prices are rising day by day. Those who are responsible for management of health do not know health, they do not know treatment.
Conducted by CGS Executive Director Zillur Rahman, the seminar, among others, was also addressed by Swadhinota Chikitsa Parishad Secretary General MA Aziz, Dhaka University Teachers Association General Secretary Dr Md Nizamul Haque Bhuiyan, former NBR Chairman Dr Mohammad Abdul Majid, Senior Entomologist of the Directorate General of Health Services Khalilur Rahman of the Department of Health, and former director of IEDCR Dr Mahmudur Rahman.
Observing that the two city corporations in Dhaka have failed to control Aedes mosquitoes, the speakers said the main problem is that there is no monitoring of the situation. Some say that the mosquitoes of the north go to the south and some say that the mosquitoes of the south go to the north, but in reality the whole of Dhaka has become infested with mosquitoes.
However, the city corporations termed the allegations baseless. The city corporation officials claimed that they are fulfilling their responsibilities.
Dhaka South City Corporation Public Relations Officer Md Abu Naser told TBS that dengue has not yet reached an epidemic stage as the city corporation is fulfilling its responsibilities properly. Such statements by entomologists do not actually reflect reality.
Dhaka North City Corporation Chief Health Officer Brigadier General Md Jobaidur Rahman told TBS, "Many people can comment at home, but are they working in the field? I have no comment on making the city corporation fully responsible in this way. Their comments are fictional. What can we do if they do not see that we are working day and night to control Aedes mosquitoes?"
Dengue kills 59 in less than three months
Meanwhile, since July this year, 59 people have died of dengue in the country. Children are most at risk among the victims.
According to the DGHS, 232 dengue patients were admitted to various hospitals across the country in the 24 hours till 8am on Saturday. The total number of infected patients this year stands at 15,460. Among them, 14,204 people have recovered after treatment at different hospitals.
In July, 2,286 dengue patients were admitted to various hospitals around the country while 7,698 people were admitted in August and 5,104 people were infected in 18 days of this month.
At present, according to data from 41 hospitals in Dhaka, 990 dengue patients are being treated in these hospitals and 207 dengue patients are being treated in districts outside the capital.
In January this year, 32 people were treated for dengue at hospitals, 9 in February, 13 in March, 3 in April, 43 in May, 272 in June and 2,286 in July.
According to the DGHS, a total of 1,405 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals across the country in 2020. Of them, seven died.
In 2019, about 1,01,354 dengue cases were reported in the country and 276 deaths were reported to the IEDCR. Expert review confirmed the death of 179 of them due to dengue.