Dengue spreading from hospitals too
Nine-month-old Ismail has been undergoing treatment at Dhaka Shishu Hospital for around two months, and around a month and a half ago, underwent surgery for his brain tumour.
But around 10 days back, the condition of the recovering infant started deteriorating and it was found that he had contracted dengue.
"Ismail has been suffering from high fever and was diagnosed with dengue around five days back. He was shifted to the dengue unit from the surgery unit and is now in critical condition," said Hosneara, Ismail's grandmother, on Sunday, adding that they did not take him out of the hospital during this time.
Contracting dengue infection while hospitalised shines a light on the danger patients face in some city hospitals, the authorities of which do not take the required steps to eradicate breeding sources of Aedes mosquitoes -- which are carriers of dengue and chikungunya viruses.
Mobile courts of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) recently fined a total of Tk 1.9 lakh to two private hospitals in Jatrabari and Dhanmondi after finding Aedes larvae at the sites.
"Our mobile courts fined Northern Hospital in Dhanmondi Tk 1 lakh and Asian Hospital and Diagnostic Centre at Jatrabari Tk 90,000 for getting Aedes mosquito larvae," said Md Abu Nasher, public relations officer and spokesperson for the DSCC.
During a visit to Shishu Hospital on Sunday, these correspondents found drums with standing water bearing plants -- a prime breeding source.
"The water remained stagnant in the drums over the last one week.
"Although the hospital authority takes initiatives sometimes to clean the water and fog the area, sometimes the water remains stagnant after rainfall," said an employee of the hospital on Sunday.
When asked about the dengue infection at their hospital, Director of Shishu Hospital Prof Shafi Ahmed said that was not supposed to happen as they take measures to clean the hospitals every day.
"We will look into the matter," he said.
In the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation premises, there is a fountain where water remains stagnant for long periods – a potential breeding source of Aedes mosquito.
These correspondents found many discarded single-use plastic cups -- where stagnant water can collect easily -- at the premises of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) hospital.
The case was similar at the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital. There is also a fountain at the premises of the hospital where water remains stagnant for long.
At the Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday, these correspondents found a water fountain without running water – in other words the water remains stagnant. Moreover, various waste like plastic bags and cups were found on the fourth-floor balcony of the Covid building.
At the National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital, there is a water installation, adorned with stones for beautification purposes. However, some patients' attendants said the water had remained stagnant for long.
A fountain with stagnant water was also found at Mitford Hospital on Monday, that too in front of the dengue unit.
Md Kamrul, a hospital staffer, said the water has been stagnant there for around 20 days but no spraying of larvicide was seen by city corporation personnel.
Deputy Director of Mitford Hospital Dr Md Ali Habib told The Daily Star on Monday that their workers clean the place every day.
City corporation also conducts an anti-mosquito drive, he said.
Kabirul Bashar, entomologist at Jahangirnagar University, said as hospitals treat dengue patients, it would be very risky if Aedes mosquito breed in those sites. That would mean dengue patients and Aedes mosquitoes are in close proximity, thus increasing the risk of the virus spreading.
A hospital and its adjoining areas will have to be safe from Aedes mosquitoes and the authorities will have to take effective and strict measures to keep the place safe, he said.
When contacted Dhaka North City Corporation Chief Health Officer Brig Gen Jobaidur Rahman said they conduct special larvicide and adulticide drives at hospitals where dengue patients are treated.
"If anyone is infected with dengue from inside the hospital then we do not have anything to do as hospital authorities will have to take measures against this," he said.
"The DNCC mayor has given 200 mosquito nets to the Shishu Hospital on August 15," he said.
PRO Nasher of the DSCC said they also carry out special anti-mosquito drives at hospitals treating dengue patients.
Meanwhile, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), one more dengue patient died while at least 258 more dengue patients were hospitalised in 24 hours till 8:00am yesterday.
With the new cases, the total number of dengue infections this year is 8,575 and the number of total deaths from the mosquito-borne disease is 38.