The overall dengue situation in the country remains grim as 403 new dengue patients have been admitted to hospitals in 24 hours since 8:00am Sunday, the highest in a single day this year.
A total of 7,179 people have been infected with dengue this year until yesterday. Of them, five have died, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The number of dengue patients was 1,374 between January and July last year, meaning the figure has already grown by more than five times this year.
Cases of dengue have been on the rise since March this year -- 17 in March, 58 in April, 184 in May, 1,814 in June and 5,050 till July 22.
Officials, however, said the number could be higher as many cases remain unreported.
Meanwhile, doctors yesterday said the civil surgeon of Habiganj probably died of dengue fever on Sunday night.
Dr Mohammad Shahadat Hossain Hajra, 53, was declared dead at the capital’s Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital around 11:00pm, said Prof Dr Uttam Kumar Barua, director of the hospital.
However, the DGHS did not include the death in its statistics saying that it would wait for confirmation of the cause of death by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
“We have heard about the civil surgeon’s death, but we will be sure about the cause of his death only after the IEDCR conducts necessary tests,” said Dr Aysha Akther, assistant director at the DGHS control room.
Talking to The Daily Star, Dr Debapada Ray, director of health at the Sylhet division DGHS office, said an administrative official of the civil surgeon’s office informed him over the phone on Sunday that Shahadat felt sick at his Habiganj office.
Debapada then instructed the official to immediately take him to the 250-bed hospital in Habiganj.
Doctors at that hospital said his symptoms indicated that he was infected with dengue.
Shahadat told the doctors that his wife and daughter were also suffering from dengue fever in Dhaka and he should be shifted there.
Around 5:00pm on Sunday, Debapada talked to the civil surgeon who complained of high fever and severe pain in his body. He was sent to Dhaka for better treatment.
He reached his Dhaka home around 10:00pm. But his condition deteriorated within around an hour and he asked his son to take him to Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead, Debapada told The Daily Star, quoting the civil surgeon’s son.
HC ISSUES SUMMONS FOR OFFICIALS
The High Court yesterday summoned the chief health officers of the Dhaka north and south city corporations to appear before it to inform about the steps taken by the corporations to prevent any outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya, and to destroy the breeding grounds of Aedes mosquitoes in the capital.
The court ordered the officials to appear before it at 11:00am on Thursday to apprise it of the steps taken for eradicating Aedes mosquitoes.
The HC bench of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi came up with the order during holding hearing on a suomoto (voluntary) rule.
The bench had issued the rule on July 14 asking the city corporations to submit separate reports yesterday about the steps taken by them.
Assistant Attorney General Saira Firoz submitted two compliance reports from Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) before the HC bench, saying that steps have been taken to create public awareness for prevention of Aedes mosquitoes.
After examining the reports, the HC expressed unhappiness saying that there were no details on the steps taken in the last seven days for eradication of Aedes mosquitoes.
The court said it took notice of media reports that dengue and chikonguniya patients were getting admitted to hospitals which indicated that the cases were increasing and the respondents’ action to eliminate Aedes mosquitoes was inadequate.
“We are therefore not satisfied with the averments given on behalf of the respondents [DNCC and DSCC],” the HC bench said.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the inadequate measures, the HC said no court in any other country needed to issue a rule on the authorities to take measures to eliminate the mosquito menace.
The court said the city corporations themselves would have to be aware of the menace before making the people aware of it.
The corporations have burdened the people with the responsibility to rid themselves of the mosquito menace, but what is their responsibilities, the court questioned.
MOBILE COURTS TO BE OPERATED
The DSCC mayor yesterday said they would operate mobile courts against the owners of under-construction buildings if any breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes were found there.
“We will operate mobile courts from today [yesterday] and it will continue until the dengue situation becomes normal,” Mayor Sayeed Khokon told reporters after visiting dengue patients at Dhaka Shishu Hospital around noon.
He said stagnant water in under-construction buildings were largely responsible for the growth of Aedes mosquito larvae.
“We have warned the owners and the authorities of such buildings so that the larvae of Aedes mosquitoes cannot grow at their construction sites.”
The DSCC workers have started visiting each houses in 57 wards and they are destroying Aedes mosquito larvae if found, he added.
The workers are also educating the residents about how to prevent the spread of larvae, Khokon said. “We have set a target to free around 25,000 houses from mosquito in next 15 days.”
Khokon, along with the DSCC chief health officer, talked to guardians of the patients and doctors to know about the overall dengue situation.
Our staff correspondents in Dhaka and Moulvibazar correspondent contributed to this report.