Feature: Dengue fever epidemic peaks in at-risk Bangladesh

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-17 10:59:11|Editor: Wu Qin
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DHAKA, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Taslima, the mother of a child with dengue fever, said they recently traveled to a relative's house in the Bangladeshi capital city of Dhaka, from the Jhenaidah district, about 130 km away.

Taslima said her baby had been suffering from a high fever after being bitten by mosquito at a her relative's house in Dhaka.

Due to the baby's fever lingering for longer than usual, she was rushed to a hospital where doctors administered a dengue fever test after seeing the bite marks from the mosquito.

"Fever aside, for the first couple of days, my baby was fine," recounted Taslima who uses a single name.

"After that, however, she started to develop respiratory issues and due to other complications needed a blood transfusion," Taslima said.

As the baby's health rapidly deteriorated, she was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospital.

"Thanks to Allah, my baby has finally started responding well to the treatment and has been taken out of ICU and put on a normal ward," the relieved mother said, adding that her baby would be discharged on Thursday.

She said the entire experience with her baby had been extremely traumatic for the whole family, but she was so happy she had recovered in the Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital.

Many other people with symptoms of dengue fever have been queuing up for doctors' advice at Bangladesh's top children hospital in Dhaka over recent days.

Almost every day in recent weeks, both government and private hospitals in the capital city have been swamped by hundreds of patients suffering from dengue fever.

Rizwanul Ahsan Bipul, a resident physician at Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital, said children are being admitted to the hospital with mostly first stage dengue fever.

"We advise people to go to the doctors as quickly as possibly if they become affected by fever, especially at this time of the year," the physician said.

And there are some issues with this strain of dengue fever. If a patient is a child, then he or she may experience vomiting or pain coupled with the fever.

If the patient is an adult, then he or she may have a severe fever, severe body pain, headache or vomiting and these symptoms can turn very dangerous, he said.

Syed Shafi Ahmed, director of Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital, said it is now the peak season for dengue epidemic.

"Many patients with dengue fever are coming for treatment at outdoor and indoor sections of the hospital," Syed said, adding that in addition, 124 patients have been admitted and undergoing treatment in the hospital.

"We treat dengue fever patients in our ICU, NICU and advanced units. Dengue cells have been developed for the treatment of our dengue fever patients," he said.

So far this month in Bangladesh, 2,164 fresh cases of dengue fever have been reported, bringing the total number of confirmed cases until July 15 this year in the country to 4,247, said Ayesha Akhter, an assistant director at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) under the Ministry of Health.

According to the official, three people have died in Bangladesh due to dengue fever since January.

The June-September monsoon period is usually the peak season of dengue fever in Bangladesh and transmission becomes rampant in the country which is considered a high-risk nation with respect to mosquito-borne diseases.

The impoverished state of about 160 million people is especially vulnerable to viruses because of insufficient biosecurity and deficient disease surveillance and protection measures.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahed Malik said in a recently press conference the government has taken steps, including providing training to doctors and nurses on dengue patient management.

The minister had asked all city corporations and municipalities to take the necessary steps to destroy the breeding grounds of the Aedes mosquitoes.

Mayor Sayeed Khokon of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) said they have taken the initiative to encourage more cleanliness in households and surroundings as part of preventive measures to destroy breeding species of the Aedes mosquitoes.

The mayor said DSCC mobile medical teams will provide free treatment and free medicine for dengue patients and a hotline for dengue patients will open soon.