No let-up in dengue deaths
Leaving a 40-day-old baby behind, Tabassum Shahirin died of dengue yesterday morning while undergoing treatment at Enam Medical College Hospital.
Tabassum was a former student of Jahangirnagar University's international relations department.
Her husband Miftahul Islam has also been hospitalised with dengue.
"Tabassum was admitted to the hospital in critical condition on Wednesday nightaround 8pm. After her condition deteriorated, she was shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU), where she passed away at 7:25am yesterday morning," the hospital's duty manager Babul Hossain told The Daily Star.
According to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), one more dengue patient died, while 270 more were hospitalised in the last 24 hours till 8am yesterday.
With the new cases, the number of dengue patients this year rose to 7,251, according to DGHS. Of the total infected, only 416 are from outside Dhaka.
Meanwhile, 31 people have died of dengue in the country this year -- the fifth-highest total deaths since 2000, when the country first experienced dengue cases. At the time, 93 people died of the virus.
Experts said if the city corporations do not take effective measures to kill adult mosquitoes immediately, the situation will go out of control.
Addresses of dengue patients should be collected from hospitals, and those areas should be fogged intensively to kill adult mosquitoes, they added.
"It would be possible to avoid more deaths, if both city corporations take our suggestions and conduct their anti-mosquito drive accordingly," said Monzur Chowdhury, entomologist and former president of Zoological Society of Bangladesh.
Manzur said the government will have to make insecticides and spraying tools readily available to carry out anti-mosquito drivesregularly.
"Monitoring this virus is important, but there is no such initiative in our country," he said, adding that in countries like the USA, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, they first identify the dengue virus and vulnerable locations, and then destroy adult Aedes mosquitoes in those particular areas through extensive drives.
"We are at a stage where we have to use adulticides [a type of insecticide used to kill adult mosquitoes] on a massive scale to control the spread of dengue."
He said city corporations took their advice on different occasions, but did not follow through.
"It's very important to kill the mosquitoes now instead of conducting mobile court drives to fine people. The latter is making infected people hide their addresses," he said.
Manzur added that the actual number of dengue patients would be much higher than the number provided by DGHS, which only collects information from 41 hospitals in the capital.
Entomologist Tauhid Uddin said city corporations should appoint entomologists to top posts, as skilled manpower is needed to design interventions to control mosquitoes.
City corporations will have to pay more attention to wiping out breeding spots, but unfortunately, they do not pay enough attention to the issue, he said.
An integrated vector management plan -- which includes environmental management, controlling Aedes mosquitoes through other insects, applying adulticide and larvicide, and involving general people in this work -- is needed to control Aedes mosquitoes.
"These four activities will have to be done round the year, but we do not see such implementation," said Entomologist Prof Kabirul Bashar.