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Experts, ministry officials differ on dengue outbreak

‘If I talk about hotspot, then the whole Dhaka city is a hotspot as mosquitoes fly and move with the travellers’


FE Report | January 06, 2020 00:00:00


Entomologists and health ministry officials at a view-exchange meeting on Sunday expressed different opinions regarding possibility of dengue outbreak in the country this year.

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) organised the meeting on culex and aedes mosquito control programme at Gulshan's Nagar Bhaban in the city.

DNCC chief executive officer Abdul Hye chaired the meeting.

In her speech, director of Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Dr Sanya Tahmina said CDC has conducted a survey out of the total three between December 17 and December 27 last year.

Analysis of the report could not be completed.

Sharing some of the raw data of that survey, Ms Sanya said they found zero larvae in 65 per cent area of the DNCC.

Only 5.0 per cent spots have more than 20 per cent bretau index which is dangerous. The rest areas have breteau index within 5.0 per cent limit.

The proportion is almost same for Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) Breteau Index (BI) is the number of positive containers per 100 houses inspected.

She also said they found less larvae in both the cities compared to those of the last year, which is the success of the city corporations. It may be a reason that the temperature is much lower now for aedes breeding, she added.

She stressed that the councillors have the highest responsibility as they have to share these information with the people.

She said larvae are found at a high rate at the mega project sites for which other ministries and departments should work.

Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) said larvae can be available during dry season too.

The city corporations have to focus on waste management to work on both larvae and adult mosquito.

"If I talk about hotspot, then the whole Dhaka city is a hotspot as mosquitoes fly and move with the travelers," she said.

Contradicting Ms Sanya's findings of aedes larvae survey, entomologist Manzur Ahmed said he could not be much relieved with the news of finding less larvae in December.

Because rainfall of 1.8 cm over the last few days has created convenient atmosphere for the breeding of both culex and aedes.

"If aedes mosquito population increases much earlier this season due to this rainfall then what will happen during June, July and August? Besides, dengue spreads much faster during Eid and the breeding time will prolong 11 days more this year," he said.

Terming it a failure, he said that if larvicide could be provided by March or April, and made the 4th generation larvicide available to people, then there could be some kind of relief.

But it could not happen due to bureaucratic tangle here, he informed.

People of Bangladesh could not use it although 4th generation larvicide is available in the market for common people across the world, he added.

Mr Manzur also said preventive measures should be taken in the clusters where dengue patients were found in larger numbers in 2019.

Because there is possibility of more dengue outbreak this year where the number of patients was high last year, he added.

He laid emphasis on destroying the cryptic breeding ground of aedes.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito likes to breed in small containers that are filled with water, preferably out of the sun.

And it likes dark colours. This makes old tires one of its favourite breeding spots.

It can also breed in flowerpots - including water-retaining saucers underneath flowerpots- bottles, cans, clogged gutters, rain barrels, birdbaths, even bottle caps.

In her presentation, deputy programme manager of CDC Dr Afsana Alamgir said the number of dengue patients rose significantly during 2000 and 2019 period.

In 2000, the number of patients was 5551 which incraesed to 0.13 million in 2019.

The number was highest in Augsut 52636 in 2019 and lowest in December 1247.

Out of the total 0.13 million patients, about 52 per cent were found in Dhaka city which is 51,871 and 49 per cent outisde Dhaka which is 49,544.

While conducting survey on breeding grounds of aedes, no spots were found free from aedes larvae, she said.

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