The reproduction ability of Aedes mosquitoes is similar to that of Rohingyas, said Health Minister Dr Zahid Maleque on Thursday.
He said this at a seminar titled “Dengue: Challenging Trends and Management Updates” arranged on Thursday by Bangladesh Society of Medicine at the Dr Milon Hall of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
The number of dengue patients is on the rise as healthy and more sophisticated Aedes mosquitoes have increased in the country, especially at households, during this monsoon, the health minister said at a seminar titled “Dengue: Challenging Trends and Management Updates”.
“Mosquito population has risen in a similar fashion as Rohingyas came to our country. We have been able to check Rohingya population birth, and hopefully, we will also be able to encounter the mosquito menace,” Zahid said.
He further said the dengue situation is now under control.
“Hundreds of people have died of dengue in other countries, but the situation is not similar in Bangladesh. Only eight deaths have occurred so far in the country,” he added.
He then censured the critiques, saying they are more concerned about this small number of deaths, while every day 15-20 die in accidents, 10 from snakebites and hundreds from heart attack.
Dengue situation in Bangladesh
The number of dengue patients is rising every day. A total of 2,322 people are admitted to different hospitals across the country.
As per government data, eight dengue patients died in the first seven months of the year, while private organisations say the number has surpassed 25.
According to the Health Emergency Operation Centre and Control Room of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 9,256 people were infected with dengue viral fever from January to July 25.
Out of the total, 6,926 went back home after receiving treatment while eight died.
What is the number of real deaths?
Four dengue patients died in the DMCH among the 1,200 hospitalised this year, and at present, 400 patients are admitted there, according to the hospital director Brigadier General Nasir Uddin.
The health minister’s data of eight deaths did not include the four who died in the DMCH, he added.
The situation is similar at Dhaka Shishu Hospital, where two have died so far, although the DGHS has data about only one death.
Also, the government organisation has no data about the deaths of two children – Purbasha and 34-day-old Musa Mahmud – at Birdem Hospital in Shahbagh on July 22 and at Al-Raji Hospital in Banasree respectively.
On July 22, the dengue-infected civil surgeon of Habiganj – Dr Md Shahadat Hossain Hajra – died under treatment at Shaheed Suhrawardy Hospital. But the DGHS says no death due to dengue infection happened in that hospital.
Last week, a chest diseases hospital nurse, infected with dengue shock syndrome, died at the city’s LabAid Hospital. The government data also lacks the information.
Dr Ashish Kumar Chakraborty, managing director of Mohakhali Universal Medical College Hospital, said four dengue patients of his hospital died this year, but the DGHS has not included the data.
Meanwhile at Police Staff Hospital, another dengue patient named Jakiya Sultana died on June 19. Also, 16-year-old Faria Afrin, who was being treated at the intensive care unit, died on July 15 at Holy Family Hospital. The DGHS has no data about these two deaths, too.
Besides, the Health Emergency Operation Centre and Control Room did not include any data about the deaths of 5-year-old Sabikun Nahar on June 24, 7-year-old Irtiza Shahad Protyoy on July 5, 4-year-old Labonyo Alina on July 15, and 45-year-old Iqram Hossain in Narail on July 24.
However, questions arose as to why the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) does not accept the fact that dengue remains behind these deaths as declared by physicians.
About the issue, IEDCR Director Professor Meerzadi Sebrina Flora said, “We incorporate information in our database only when we are certain that those deaths have happened due to dengue. We inform the media after monitoring mass media, Facebook and government hospital data.”
She expressed doubt over the authenticity of the rapid tests done by the physicians.
“The highest sensitivity of the basic test conducted by doctors is between 96 and 98, while it varies depending on the company reagent. The test IEDCR does is cent percent authentic, but there is a possibility of false positive or false negative in rapid test results,” she explained.
On the other hand, Bangladesh Medical Association President Professor Dr Rashid-e-Mahbub opined that panic is running high in the absence of accurate data over dengue deaths.
He told The Business Standard that both the government and mass media lack enough information about dengue deaths, as each of them is presenting it from their own perspective.
If the media challenge the government with correct data, the government should accept it, or else the right planning on the disease will be hampered, he further said.
He also pointed out that there is a lack of coordination among the government organisations and the mass media, which is raising panic among the people.
It will continue to happen if it is not addressed right now, he added.