Hospitals in the country usually see patients admitted with dengue symptoms between April and September. This mosquito-borne viral disease is characterised mainly by high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, nausea, muscle and joint pain, and blood clots throughout the body.
However, the dengue virus's genetic variety has significantly contributed to the severity of this outbreak, and its current symptoms are different from those of the past. Patients are often brought to the hospital late because they are unaware of the dengue symptoms and the severity of their condition. As a result, it became challenging for doctors to stop death. Even though December has begun, there are still a lot of dengue cases, and more people are dying from the disease every day.
"Mother had a constant fever for a while. Given how mild the other dengue symptoms were, I assumed it would go away with medication. So I didn't take her to the doctor," Yasmin Haque, a resident of Madartek in the capital, described her mother's dengue infection in terms of how it worsened over a few days. Her mother, the 60 years old patient, was sent to a hospital only to find she had dengue. She still wonders how her mother contracted dengue despite taking all necessary precautions. However, she speculates that the water stored for later use would have supported the growth of Aedes mosquitoes. It can be mentioned that there is a lack of water in many locations in Dhaka city. Residents are therefore forced to store water for later use, which worsens dengue cases.
However, Nuruzzaman Shuvo, a resident of Segunbagicha in the capital, described how he used bleaching powder to block the hatching sites of Aedes mosquitoes around the tubs of his houseplants.
According to the most recent data, there were 254 dengue deaths this year, which is the most in 22 years, and 179 dengue deaths in 2019, the second-highest number of dengue deaths to date. The capital city Dhaka alone accounts for more than 60 per cent of illnesses and fatalities. Outside Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox's Bazar residents are the most affected.
Experts blame climate change and people's ignorance for the current scenario. Because there was rain in various sections of the country in October, the density of Aedes mosquitoes was also higher this year than in previous years. Aedes mosquito breeding has increased due to changes in global temperature, untimely precipitation, rainfall, and humidity, as well as citizen apathy.
The frequency of dengue in this circumstance may be significantly decreased if the residents follow simple guidelines for maintaining a clean home and neighbourhood. Experts say that if the Aedes mosquito larvae are eliminated, the number of infected people can decrease to zero. And to do that, citizens must convert their homes into defence rings.
Prevention begins at home
Therefore, we cannot rest now since winter is here. Rather, preparation to fight the issue for the upcoming season should begin now. Here are some basic strategies to follow.
- The Aedes mosquito breeds in clear, still water. Even standing water the size of a 5 Tk coin can support mosquito breeding. A solution called 'Mozzie Wipeout,' developed by Singapore's National Environment Agency can be used at least once per week to deal with this problem. According to this, the goal is to stop dengue with B-L-O-C-K.
B- Break up hardened soil in potted plants to prevent accumulation of standing water on the surface
L- Lift and empty flowerpot plates
O- Overturn pails/containers and wipe their rims
C- Change water in vases
K- Keep roof gardens clean and place BTI insecticide
- Cover and sanitise water storage containers regularly. Mosquito breeding places might also include planter dishes and pet water bowls. Therefore, these must also be cleaned.
- Look for water ponding caused by leaks beneath the bathroom sink or kitchen sink. Remove any standing water from the air coolers once a week.
- Mosquitoes typically breed in small, dark areas. Use mosquito repellent sprays in these places. Allow the sun to shine through windows throughout the day to keep mosquitoes away.
- Consider putting screens and nets on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- The usage of electronic vaporisers and mosquito coils may be beneficial. Typically, they prevent mosquitoes from entering the house all day.
- Toilets should not have standing water for more than five days. Before covering the lid, both the high and low commodes should be cleaned properly.
- Use closed trash cans, if possible, and empty them frequently.
- Use a mosquito net to sleep during the day and night because the Aedes mosquito bites during the day. The virus spreads inside a person's body after being bitten by an affected mosquito. The victim eventually takes the role of the virus' primary carrier. Patients should be constantly kept under mosquito nets to stop the spread of dengue.
One will develop a fever for four to seven days after being bitten by an Aedes mosquito. Therefore, a dengue test should be performed within the first two days of a fever. This increases the chance of saving the patient's life and halting the virus's spread.