Dengue claims 19 lives, highest in a single day
The country has been grappling with an alarming surge in dengue-related fatalities this July, with 99 deaths already recorded within the first 19 days of the month.
Nineteen lives were lost in the past 24 hours, making it the highest number of fatality in a single day since January, catapulting this year's death toll to 146.
The capital's hospitals alone accounted for 113 of these deaths, while the rest were reported outside Dhaka, proving the relentless spread of the disease.
In less than the first seven months of this year, the number of dengue cases has surpassed 25,000, setting a record since the disease first broke out in the country in 2000.
COMPARISON WITH 2019
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) data show that 18,461 cases were reported from January to July in 2019, with 16,253 cases reported in July alone.
The nation experienced the most number of dengue cases (1,01,354) that year.
This year, 17,814 dengue cases have been logged so far in July. At least 40 people died of dengue in July 2019, meaning this year's July fatalities (99) is over double of that in 2019.
Analysing these data, experts fear that the number might surpass all previous records this year in terms of dengue cases and deaths.
A GRIM FUTURE AHEAD
With the new figures, the total number of cases this year stands at 25,792, till yesterday morning.
"August and September typically have the highest number of cases reported. The infection rate is most likely to surpass the August 2019 threshold (52,636) in the next couple of months," said entomologist Kabirul Bashar of Jahangirnagar University.
Bashar emphasised the importance of hotspot management and urged the authorities to make every effort to get rid of adult mosquitoes to prevent their breeding.
"Extensive anti-mosquito drives are necessary in districts to stop Aedes breeding. This way, the virus can be stopped from spreading to areas that are not gravely affected yet," he suggested.
According to entomologist GM Saifur Rahman of National University, around 2 lakh people are likely to be infected with dengue this year if the trend continues.
"Despite its extreme relevance, a lack of district-level surveillance is seen all year round. To enable local government agencies, community organisations, and educational institutions to carry out focused interventions, the government should set up an efficient surveillance system to locate dengue hotspots," he said.
Saifur also emphasised the joint duty of city corporations and residents to maintain awareness, and get rid of potential breeding sources to achieve efficient source reduction.
DEN 2, DEN 3 ACTIVE
The Den 2 and Den 3 variants, which are termed more dangerous, are active this year.
Of them, Den 2 is more prominent among patients, said Tahmina Shirin, director of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.
According to experts, dengue virus has four variants (Den 1-4), each of which is further subdivided into distinct genotypes. Den 2, which consists of six genotypes (Asian/American, Asian I, Asian II, Cosmopolitan, American and sylvatic), is frequently associated with severe dengue infections and epidemics.
Mortality risks become higher if a previous patient with the disease is infected with a different variant. However, early detection and immediate hospitalisation can help lower the risks significantly.
Last year, the Den-3 variant was more prominent among patients.
"Being affected by Den-2 does not necessarily signal danger. However, cross infections are risky and may lead to more adverse effects if the patients are not hospitalised timely. Delayed hospitalisation is one of the major causes behind the deteriorating conditions of dengue patients and their deaths," said Dr Tahmina.
"Consulting a doctor is essential if a patient is diagnosed with fever. A dengue patient should take in enough fluids. Coconut water, saline, home-made fruit juices, and serbets will keep them hydrated while ensuring a supply of necessary vitamins and minerals needed to speed up their recovery process," she asserted.
Cleanliness is also necessary to prevent infections from spreading across. Dr Tahmina also urged people to make sure that their yards are clean and stagnant waters are removed following rains.