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Health - August 17, 2023

Dengue patients4-5 times higherthan official figure

Staff Correspondent: With the worsening dengue situation in the country, the numbers of dengue patients and deaths have been increasing day by day while the actual number of dengue patients of the country is 4-5 times higher than the official projection delivered by the health directorate.
A large number of dengue patients remained out of the official data of the government as many private hospitals at different places of the country, including in Dhaka, do not provide daily dengue reports to the control room of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
At the same time, a large number of patients remained outside the official calculation as they take treatment at private chambers of doctors staying at their residences, many patients are victim of false negative of the dengue NS1 antigen test and many patients are also asymptomatic.
“We do not get reports of total dengue positive patients. We get information of only the dengue patients who are admitted in public and private hospitals.
All public hospitals provide information regularly but 70-80 percent private hospitals provide information,” Prof Dr Md Shahadat Hossain, Director (MIS-Management Information System) of the DGHS, told. He said the dengue patients who take treatment at private chambers of doctors staying at their residences and many patients who are victim to false negative of dengue NS1 antigen test also remain out of the official reports of the health directorate.
“The actual number of dengue patients of the country is four to five times higher than the projected official figure of the dengue patients.
However, there are a number of classical dengue patients who are not hospitalised and they are not a matter of concern,” Shahadat Hossain added.
The Health Emergency Operation Centre& Control Room under MIS section of the DGHS daily collects reports of dengue patients admitted to public and private hospitals across the country, including in the Dhaka city.
Of the total, 20 government hospitals and 56 private hospitals in the capital provide information of the dengue patients to the control room regularly.
“The Civil Surgeons of districts across the country collect information of government hospitals and private hospitals, combine the data and send it to the central control room,” Shahadat Hossain said.
The DGHS sources said there are around 4,500 registered private hospitals across the country while over 500 registered private hospitals are running in the capital.
The hospital sources and health experts said at least 20 percent of the dengue patients are victims of false negative of dengue NS1 antigen test in the country as the dengue patients carry mild symptoms of the deadly disease but their disease is not diagnosed due to false report of the test.
“A negative NS1 test result does not rule out infection. People with negative NS1 results should be tested for the presence of dengue IgM antibodies to determine possible recent dengue exposure,” said a report of the US CDC.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said most people who get dengue won’t have symptoms. But for those that do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches, nausea and rash. Most will also get better in 1-2 weeks.
“Most people with dengue have mild or no symptoms and will get better in 1-2 weeks. Rarely, dengue can be severe and lead to death. Some people develop severe dengue and need care in a hospital. In severe cases, dengue can be fatal… Dengue is treated with pain medicine as there is no specific treatment currently,” it added.
“Of the total dengue patients, around 80 percent are asymptomatic as they are infected with the deadly dengue virus but they have no symptom,” Prof Dr Saif Ullah Munshi, a virologist at Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), told.
The experts said it is not possible to project actual figure of the dengue patients as over 50 percent of dengue patients are asymptomatic and at least 20 percent patients are victims of false negative of NS1 dengue test while around 30 percent of the patients admitted to hospitals were not reported to DGHS.
According to the DGHS data, around 90,000 dengue patients were admitted to hospitals across the country, including in Dhaka city, till August 15 this year. Of the total, around fifty percent of the patients were reported in the capital.
At the same time, over 420 dengue patients died in the country while around 320 have been reported in the Dhaka city.
The DGHS report further said around 80,000 dengue patients were released from the hospitals across the country after getting recovery from the deadly disease.

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