Early measures must to head off dengue menace

Published: 00:00, Feb 25,2020


A GOVERNMENT survey, done in the wake of a dengue infection outbreak with constraining effects in the past season, showing the presence of Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector of dengue and chikungunya viruses, in 95 per cent areas in the capital Dhaka even in the lean season is gravely worrying. The survey, conducted by the Malaria Elimination and Aedes-Transmitted Disease Control Programme in 98 wards in Dhaka, has found the density of Aedes mosquito in the second half of December 2019, which is not the season for Aedes to be present in a large number, in some places of Dhaka’s north and south city areas close to the density that was found in April–September when the Aedes mosquitoes usually thrive. As many as 130 Aedes mosquitoes were caught in 137 traps set across the survey area while a high presence of the mosquito was also noticed in water that collected in drums, buckets, abandoned tyres and under-construction buildings. Such a high presence of the mosquito suggests that once the rainy season begins and temperature rises, the mosquito could thrive at a rate exceeding that of the past season and, if unchecked, it would take a toll heavier than it last did.

In the past season, beginning from late April and continuing unexpectedly to January 2020, the dengue fever is reported have infected at least 101,174 people and killed about 270. The dengue menace, moreover, for the first time since its reported detection in 2000, spread outside the capital in July 2019 and within a week, the severity in the outlying districts overtook that in the capital. The infection rate in December and January, considered to be the lean period for the Aedes mosquito-borne viral fever, was unusually high this time, according to government statistics. Experts have warned that the high number of dengue cases this January raises fears about a high number of dengue patients in the coming months when rain, high temperature and humidity would create a favourable condition for the breeding of the Aedes mosquito. Residents in different city areas, as New Age has recently reported more than once, have also said that there is an unusually high prevalence of mosquitoes, as is evident in the government survey at hand too, in the winter and has complained of a total absence of mosquito control measure by city authorities.

All this — a very high dengue prevalence and death in the past season that continued till January and a high presence of Aedes mosquito in almost all areas in the capital now — indicates a tough time ahead. The government and the city authorities must, under the circumstances, be alert and intensify its mosquito control programme to stop any severe outbreak of dengue. The government must also take necessary steps to control the dengue menace in outlying districts and the task must begin now.

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