KATHMANDU, Sept 6: Agriculture and Livestock Development Minister Chakrapani Khanal has been hospitalized after being diagnosed with dengue, a mosquito-borne disease which has been spreading like wildfire across the country.
Khanal was rushed to Grande Hospital after a blood sample showed traces of the dengue virus during an initial checkup at Teku Hospital.
“He's being treated in Incentive Care Unit,” informed Bom Lal Giri, the minister's press officer .
Khanal's case is being seen as the latest indication of the government's failure to contain the outbreak which is nearing epidemic proportions.
According to official data, an estimated 2,559 people across the country are receiving treatment for dengue. The exact number could be higher as many of the infected might not have approached a hospital, officials said.
For days now the authorities have been rolling out a nationwide campaign to control the disease, which is believed to have taken four lives so far.
On Thursday, Kathmandu saw its first dengue-related death .
Ram Bahadur Danuwar, 60, a local of Bhimtar Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchwok, died during treatment at the Venus Hospital, according to Kamal Danuwar, a ward chairman from Bhimtar.
Quoting a doctor, Kamal Danuwar said Ram Bahadur died of dengue. Following the death a team of health workers has been deployed to his village.
This death is the first dengue-related fatality in the uplands. So far, only people in the lowlands like Chitwan and Rautahat had succumbed.
Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun, coordinator of the research department at Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Kathmandu, said that the hospital has been treating a rush of dengue cases.
“Only serious cases are admitted here,” said Dr. Pun, adding that the hospital was getting around 250 patients on average per day.
Other hospitals in Kathmandu have also witnessed a sharp rise in dengue patients.
Dr. Anup Bastola, chief consultant at Shukraraj Tropical, said the weather will be congenial for two more months for the dengue mosquito.
The World Health Organization listed dengue among the 10 threats to global health in 2019. WHO estimates that 40 % of the world is at risk of dengue fever, and there are around 390 million infections a year.
Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Dr. Bibek Kumar Lal under the Department of Health Services told Republica that the dengue outbreak has caused panic in several other regions of the world also.
The Department of Epidemiology is trying its best to coordinate with local bodies at provincial level. It has been giving training to health professionals and stakeholders . The central government has released more than Rs 67 million to the provinces and 16.8 million to local bodies to fight dengue.
“Dengue is hard to control, especially in semi-urban settings where people depend on storage water," said Dr. Lal adding, "The flying range of the dengue mosquito is 1-1.5 km. It is not safe if we clean our periphery but the neighboring road is infected.”