Dengue deepens public health crisis as corona rages
Industry Desk: The father and brother of Mehedi Hasan, a resident of Mugda in Dhaka, caught dengue fever recently after recovering from COVID-19.
A desperately worried Mehedi rushed them to at least five hospitals in the quest for a bed and finally got one at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and another at Islami Bank Central Hospital only after some string-pulling by their contacts.
When they had COVID, both Mehedi’s father and brother received treatment at home.
But they needed to be hospitalised when they contracted dengue, said Mehedi, who works at a media outlet.
“They had a fever even after testing negative for COVID. The doctor didn’t want to take risks after the diagnosis of dengue and suggested hospitalisation,” he said, describing how troublesome it was to get a bed in the hospital due to the increased number of dengue patients.
Mehedi complained Mugda was full of waste and there was no initiative to clean them. “This is why we’re suffering.” As the prevalence of Aedes mosquito intensified in Dhaka, dengue has become a new menace for people amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As many as 208 new dengue patients were admitted to 41 government and private hospitals in Dhaka in the latest daily count, taking the number of dengue patients taking treatment at hospitals past 1,000.
The government’s disease control agency IEDCR has received reports of the deaths of 10 dengue patients this year, although the news of death caused by dengue is frequently reported on social and mainstream media.
People suffer more as the dengue and COVID-19 illness manifests similar symptoms, complicating the diagnosis and isolation. Also, most of the big hospitals in Dhaka have been dedicated to treat COVID patients and therefore, dengue patients are not treated there.
This has mounted pressure on hospital management, with patients being rushed from one hospital to another.
Md Yusuf admitted his father Abul Kalam, a dengue patient, to Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital aka Mitford Hospital, after he tried several other hospitals. By that time, his platelet count dropped to 10,000 and he had to receive eight bags of blood. Kalam returned home after a week at the hospital.
“A dengue patient doesn’t survive when the platelet count drops to 10,000. It is our good fortune that my father survived,” Yusuf said.
He thinks a cattle market, which was set up next to their home near Khilgaon Bazar during Eid-ul-Azha, had increased the mosquito menace leading to a prevalence of dengue in the area. “Holes were dug to dump waste from the sacrificed animals. Now the holes are filled with water and can be the breeding ground for Aedes mosquitos. Still, there is stagnant water behind our home.”
The inflow of dengue patients has increased significantly, said the authorities in Dhaka hospitals.
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