The number of dengue patients hospitalized in the country this year crossed the 100k mark to reach 100,021 on Friday.
With the unprecedented rise of the infection this year, the Directorate General of Health Services said that it had confirmed 129 deaths from it so far after analysing 204 suspected dengue deaths out of the 264 reports it has received since April.
Until 2018, the number of dengue cases hospitalized crossed the 6,000 mark three times since 2000 in Bangladesh – with at least 6,232 getting hospitalised in 2002, at least 6,060 in 2016 and at least 10,148 in 2018.
But the official figure this year has hit nearly 10 times the number last year.
The number of dengue cases hospitalized was 1,884 in June, 16,253 in July, climaxing to 52,636 in August.
The figure then marked sharp falls with 16,856 patients hospitalized in September, 8,143 in October and 3,929 in the past 29 days of November.
Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said that the dengue outbreak could recur in the next year unless measures were taken to control aedes mosquitoes from now.
The IEDCR expects that dengue would not be reported in the capital massively in the coming year like this time but there is still the possibility of the aedes mosquito-borne viral fever spreading across the country, she told New Age on Friday.
Flora clarified that as infection with one serotype of dengue gives a patient lifelong immunity from that particular serotype and that as a large number of city people have suffered from most of the dengue serotypes this year so they would not suffer as much from the dengue menace in the coming year.
But, she said, the situation outside the capital is feared to be worse in the next year as dengue has for the first time spread outside the capital this year and that more people are likely to be infected with different serotypes in the districts in the coming years.
There are four serotypes of dengue and this year serotype DEN 3 was predominant in Bangladesh while DEN 2 was predominant followed by DEN 1 in the previous years but no case of DEN 4 was reported by the IEDCR so far in Bangladesh, she noted.
According to Flora, controlling mosquitos in the capital is easier than in districts as the environment and mosquito habitats are different in the countryside.
There is no mechanism or practice of controlling mosquitos in the sub-urban areas or district towns as well as in the countryside where aedes albopictus usually lives, she said.
This year the dengue outbreak, which was initially limited to the capital, as had been the case since its first reported occurrence in Bangladesh in 2000, started spreading outside the capital for the first time in the fourth week of July.
The menace affected the whole country in a matter of just one week and the severity in the outlying districts overtook that in the capital.
Till Friday, the number of hospitalised dengue patients in the capital reached 51,079 and 48,942 in the districts.
The Khulna division witnessed the highest number of cases hospitalised outside the capital –11,831. As for the districts under the division, Jashore saw 4,023 dengue patients hospitalised alone while no other single district had more than 1,812 patients hospitalised.
Since September, dengue hospitalisation has slowed down but still over 650 people are getting hospitalised each week with dengue.
On Friday, at least 451 dengue patients were still in hospitals across the country, including 251 in the capital and 200 in the districts.
Among them, 73 were hospitalised in the 24 hours ending at 8:00am on the day. Thirty-seven of them were admitted in the capital and 36 in the districts.
The DGHS on Friday said that the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research had so far confirmed 129 deaths due to dengue since April.
It said that the number of dengue deaths was confirmed after analysing 204 out of the 264 reports of suspected dengue deaths it has received so far this year.
The High Court, in a recent suo moto directive, told the government to disclose the actual number of deaths from dengue this year.
This year the number of dengue deaths too broke all past records.
Dengue first appeared in Bangladesh in 2000, causing 93 deaths that year.
The number of dengue deaths dropped to 44 in 2001 but rose to 58 in 2002. Then onwards, the number did not exceed 26 until 2018.
Jahangirnagar University entomology professor Kabirul Bashar predicted that dengue infection was likely to persist round the year henceforth.
‘The number of dengue patients might decrease in the winter, but that would be higher than the previous year’s,’ he added.
‘As dengue has spread across the country this year it will be difficult to eradicate the viral disease,’ he cautioned.
DGHS director for communicable disease control Sanya Tahmina said that they were expecting the dengue situation to improve in the coming days.
‘We will continue to monitor aedes mosquito breeding,’ she added.
She said that the magnitude of dengue infection in the coming years would depend on what preventive measures would be taken.
She suggested that monitoring of aedes prevalence and taking measures to eradicate the mosquito’s breeding grounds alongside spraying larvicide and adulticide round the year are required to prevent dengue outbreak.