4 city areas at risk of dengue | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 08, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:49 AM, May 08, 2021

4 city areas at risk of dengue

Says DGHS survey in 69 wards of Dhaka north, south city corporations

Four areas of the capital are at risk of dengue  infection due to the presence of Aedes mosquitoes, which are carriers of  the disease.

The areas are: Lalmatia and Iqbal Road under  Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Sayedabad and North Jatrabari of  Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), revealed a survey of the  Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) published on Thursday.

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National  Malaria Elimination and Aedes Transmitted Disease Control Programme of  the Communicable Disease Control unit of the DGHS conducted the survey  from March 29 to April 7 at 70 sites of 69 wards of the two city  corporations.

Among the containers with Aedes larvae, the survey  found the highest percentage -- 20.22 percent -- in flooded floors of  under-construction buildings, 19.10 percent in plastic drums, 11.24  percent in buckets, 7.87 percent in water tanks, 6.74 percent in the  holes of water meters, 2.25 percent in flower pots and trays, 4.49  percent in plastic bottles and 3.37 percent at the bottom of elevator  shafts.

The survey also found that the highest number of  containers with the larvae -- 43.82 percent -- were found in high rise  buildings, 34.83 percent at under-construction buildings, 15.73 at singe houses and 5.62 percent in slum areas.

Manzur  Chowdhury, entomologist and former president of Zoological Society of  Bangladesh, said April and the first week of May has seen rainfall on  five or six occasions in the city, which is favourable for the Aedes  mosquito's breeding.

However, he said the ongoing restrictions to  curb the spread of Covid-19 also creates obstacles for spreading dengue.  Schools and colleges are major sites for spreading the virus as the  young generation are the main victims.

Similarly, the restrictions on people's movement throughout the country can be a positive.

But still there is risk of dengue and authorities will have to take necessary steps to stop its spread, Manzur said.

"It will be a very big burden for us if dengue cases start to spread as the coronavirus pandemic is going on.

"Authorities  will have to take necessary steps to raise awareness so people destroy  all breeding sources like abandoned pots and tyres and clean flower  pots, cement tanks and drums once every week," he said.

Attention  should also be paid to cleaning bus stops, hospitals, vehicles seized by  police, etc. in anti-mosquito drives, he added.

Educational  institutions have been closed for more than a year due to the pandemic  and cleaning operations have to be done in those places to eliminate  breeding sources, he suggested.

Entomologist Kabirul Bashar of  Jahangirnagar University said there were no alarming findings in the  DGHS survey, but there is still a risk of dengue infection.

If the  two city corporations and people are conscious of destroying breeding  sources, the number of Aedes mosquitoes will not be high even after  rainfall, he said.

But if proper measures are not taken from now, the number of Aedes mosquitoes will increase, Bashar warned.

Awareness  building will have to start from now. If it is a public place,  authorities concerned will have to take steps to destroy the breeding  grounds and if it is a residence, then the house owner will have to take  steps to clean it, he said.

DNCC Mayor Md Atiqul Islam said they were conducting drives at different places to check Aedes mosquito larvae.

"We  are also sending text messages to owners of houses identified during  our combing operation last year to take necessary steps against Aedes  mosquitoes," said Atique.

He said they are also taking actions to identify hotspots of Aedes mosquitoes.

Atique  said there was a shortage of mosquito control supervisors and they have  already managed 54 supervisors for 54 wards of DNCC, given them  necessary training and they are now working at field level.

"There  are two entomologists in the DNCC. We have also sought 10 entomologists  from the government to conduct their operation as they play a vital  role to control [the spread of] Aedes mosquito," the mayor said.

He  said awareness is very important, and although they were unable to  conduct awareness campaigns this year amid the pandemic they are taking  steps to raise awareness through social media and other platforms.

Health  official of the DSCC Mir Mustafizur Rahman said they are currently  conducting an anti-Aedes mosquito drive through three mobile courts.

They were also working at the zone and ward levels to control it even during the "lockdown", he said.

DSCC  Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh held a meeting with officials concerned  on Monday and gave directives to take necessary steps to control Aedes  mosquitoes, the health official said. 

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