Covid-19 shouldn’t detract us from other public health risks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 06, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:29 AM, July 06, 2020


Covid-19 shouldn’t detract us from other public health risks

Beware of dengue outbreak

Not very long ago we had warned the administration to initiate actions to thwart a dengue onslaught, starting with anti-dengue drives by the two city corporations. Dhaka being where there was the largest number of dengue affected cases last year. We had enough data then to suggest a likely surge in the incidence of the deadly disease. And in fact, not a month has gone by without reports on dengue danger in the media. 

We believe that the threat has not diminished a bit, in fact the risk remains, the ominous prospect exacerbated by the manner the Aedes mosquitoes have been allowed to breed. The rain had come sooner than expected and will last longer than usual, affording the vermin a longer breeding time. Experts have put us on notice of an outbreak between now and September, the period when cases are likely to peak.

While we notice that the anti-mosquito drive was launched with some fanfare in June, it was for 10 days only, for example in DNCC areas, which really is not enough. It must be continuous till we succeed in diminishing the threat.A 10-day combing operation cannot ensure destruction of all the breeding grounds of Aedes mosquitoes. And we say this because, as reported recently by the team leader of a project under Jahangirnagar University, there is still a high density of Aedes mosquito at different parts of the capital, which enhances the possibility of increasing dengue cases in August. The project carried out tests in six areas of Dhaka city in June in both North and South of the capital and found the Breteau Index (BI) over 20, an alarming level of Aedes mosquito density.

Admittedly, we are under the vicous grip of a dangerous pandemic. And it's quite likely that people's attention is too focused on this to think about other things. We have also seen that the pandemic has all but suspended treatment to general patients. The administration must have all necessary arrangements to deal with dengue patients efficiently, drawing lessons from the loopholes last year in the anti-mosquito drive, as well as the Covid-19 experience so far.   

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