'Measures to control dengue disease not enough'


Kathmandu, Oct. 19: Measures adopted by the government to curb the deadly disease, dengue, are not enough to control it, experts say.

They have pointed at the unexpected spread of the disease in highly endemic areas of Chitwan district as the latest evidence.

Although the period between mid-October and mid-November is most favourable to the spread of dengue, the sudden rise in the number of people infected with it is unexpected, they said.

During the last one-and-a-half months, around 120 people were found infected with dengue in Chitwan district.

However, during the last 10 days, after the start of Dashain, a large number of dengue cases were detected in different areas of Chitwan.

Of them, majority of the infections have been reported from Ratnanagar and Tandi, located in the eastern part of the district.

Chitwan is highly prone to the spread of vector-borne diseases, such as dengue. But the government did not launch any effective programme in the area before the epidemic started, senior virologist Dr. Basudev Pandey said.

A comprehensive package should have been launched before there was an increase in the number of cases, Dr. Pandey said.

The government has sent a team to the area just for formality’s sake, he claimed.

The period from October to December is a favourable time for the growth of the Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for transmitting dengue.

High fever, pain in the joints and muscles, rashes on the body and bleeding of the gums are the major symptoms of dengue.

The disease was detected first in Chitwan in 2009. In terms of density of the mosquito population, the people of Chitwan are highly prone to being infected with dengue, where a number of people die of it every year.

The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) under the Department of Health Services, which is responsible for curbing the spread of the epidemics, has sent a team devoid of any experts.

The team has launched a larva search and destroy campaign in the highly affected areas. However, the search and destroy campaign should have been launched before the sharp rise in the number of cases, Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun, an expert on viral and vector borne diseases at the Shukra Raj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku said.

According to Dr. Pun during the last six days, 12 dengue positive patients visited the hospital. Majority of them were found to have been to Chitwan once during the last one or two weeks.

On the other hand, the dengue epidemic has spread in India since last month. The flow of people who also visited India during the Dashain festival is also a cause for the increase in dengue cases during the last one week, Dr. Pun said.

Unplanned and fast urbanisation and high temperature are blamed for the rise in dengue cases in Chitwan.

Health experts suggest avoiding mosquito bite to be safe from dengue.


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