Dengue surge looming amidst Covid-19 surge
It's disturbing enough that Covid-19 infections continue to rage across the country, but now another life-threatening disease has presented itself following the arrival of monsoon: dengue. Between June 1 and 23, 147 dengue infections were detected in the country, which account for 59.5 percent of all dengue cases recorded in the current year. Aedes mosquitoes, which are carriers of the dengue and chikungunya viruses, find the wet monsoon months to be ideal for breeding, and they breed anywhere there is clean or stagnant water.
The alarming increase in the number of dengue cases in June is especially a cause for concern due to hospitals and healthcare resources already being strained under the country's Covid-19 extended second wave. It goes without saying that if the danger of a dengue surge is allowed to fester, health systems across the country will find it extremely difficult to accommodate and treat all incoming patients. And, as experts have opined, the situation will be particularly critical if a patient is infected with both dengue and Covid-19—a real possibility, given the circumstances.
We believe it is crucial to not only prepare hospitals and healthcare personnel to handle this double threat, but also to make people aware about how easily Aedes larvae can breed all around them and how they can protect themselves from dengue by making sure there are no places or receptacles holding water for too long. We commend the DNCC for "issuing letters to all government, semi-government, autonomous, private organisations and educational institutions to take necessary steps so that Aedes larvae do not get any suitable place to breed" since April—and also for asking, via text messages, 1,700 house owners (where Aedes larvae were detected last year) to destroy the breeding sources of mosquitoes or face stern action. We would urge the two city corporations of Dhaka to step up their anti-mosquito drives, road shows, and "routine spraying of larvicide and adulticide".
At the same time, we urge the health authorities to raise awareness of this growing menace and equip all hospitals in the country accordingly, instead of focusing all their efforts and attention on the capital only. After all, the numbers of dengue patients recorded this year originate from all over the country, and no disease discriminates between districts or divisions.