More than 54,000 patients were infected with respiratory diseases, fever and diarrhoea in this month
A battery-run easy-bike driver in Kushtia developed fever, flu and cough on Friday. He started to suffer from severe breathing problems from Monday and immediately rushed to the emergency unit of Kushtia General Hospital. The on-duty doctors pronounced him dead soon after.
Another person in Sherpur died on Sunday night with similar symptoms.
Deaths from fever, breathing complications and diarrhoea surged in last couple of days across the country. Though the deaths are not being registered, the government records the cases of infection.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), as many as 54,170 people were infected with fever, breathing problems, diarrhoea and asthma in March 2020.
The DGHS health emergency operations centre and control room registers information of patients at government hospitals across Bangladesh.
The control room data shows that as many as 11,930 people were infected with acute respiratory infection, 23,420 with diarrhoea and 18,820 with fever, hepatitis, dysentery and conjunctivitis in March 2020.
The total number of cases are ten times higher than that in the same period last year.
In March last year, 820 people were infected with respiratory diseases. In that month, 1,530 people suffered from diarrhoea while a total of 2,690 had fever, hepatitis, dysentery and conjunctivitis.
The number of patients is high this year as the country experienced a series of cold waves, and the air quality keeps falling, Dr Ayesha Akter, assistant director of DGHS control room, told The Business Standard.
The DGHS control room records winter diseases in the November-March period every year.
This year, it registered cases from all 64 districts; while previous records did not cover all the regions of the country. Dr Ayesha commented that the full coverage could be another reason for the surge.
However, physicians said the soaring number of patients during the summer worries them as many of their symptoms are similar to that of novel coronavirus.
"The number of patients in March 2020 is a bit unusual," said Prof Dr Nazrul Islam of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
Moreover, at least ten people died across the country with fever and breathing issues in the last two days. If medical samples of the deceased are tested negative for coronavirus, it will slightly ease our tension, added Dr Nazrul Islam, who works as a virologist.
He suggested treating patients with fever and respiratory issues separately, and running coronavirus tests if requires.
In the meantime, patients with fever or flu were facing a double whammy as the symptoms are similar to the Covid-19. In many cases, hospitals were reportedly rejecting such patients.
A stroke patient with fever, breathing trouble and diarrhoea died on Sunday after being rejected by four hospitals in the capital. The patient succumbed to his ailment after a 16-hour desperate effort to get admitted to any hospital.