Take proper action to stop dengue spread
The reports of dengue infections have been increasing at a worrying rate, and new data shows that the disease has started to spread beyond Dhaka, which has been the dengue hotspot for the past few months. According to the health directorate, at least 14,831 dengue cases have been reported in Bangladesh between January 1 and September 15 this year. Of those cases, 1,601—around 10.79 percent—were reported outside Dhaka. But of the 307 dengue cases reported in the 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday, 63 patients—20.52 percent—were not in the capital.
The surge in the cases that Bangladesh is seeing now is similar to what Dhaka experienced in the last few months, which means dengue is spreading across the country alarmingly. If this trend is allowed to continue, experts fear that the rest of the country may face a situation similar to Dhaka's by mid-October.
According to LGRD Minister Md Tazul Islam, most patients from outside Dhaka were infected when they visited the capital. That could have been prevented if, as entomologist Dr Saifur Rahman suggested while speaking to The Daily Star, intense fogging had been conducted in and around major bus stations in Dhaka and inside public transport vehicles themselves.
Given that dengue cases are just beginning to rise outside Dhaka, the authorities concerned still have some time to put preventive measures in place and stop the situation from getting worse. There's plenty to learn from our past experiences of dengue outbreaks—some of which were very recent.
We urge authorities to act fast in preventing the spread of dengue. Raising awareness among the citizens and urging them to adopt preventive measures—i.e. wearing clothes that cover most of their skin, cleaning up stagnant water regularly, using insecticides and mosquito nets, etc—are certainly crucial. But the authorities themselves have the responsibility to prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes, which include spraying (effective) larvicides in dengue hotspots, carrying out regular fogging, and keeping the water bodies of their respective areas clean.
Because of the seasonal nature of dengue infections, we hope that the city corporation and municipality authorities in the urban areas and the union and upazila parishads in the rural areas have taken adequate preparations to prevent Aedes breeding. Our healthcare system is already overwhelmed with Covid patients; the authorities need to do what they must, while there's still time, to contain dengue infections to avoid putting more burden on the healthcare providers.