Dengue menace is not yet over

Published On: November 3, 2019 07:25 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Shukraraj Tropical Hospital receiving over 50 dengue patients a day even in winter

KATHMANDU, Nov 3: Dengue epidemic that caused widespread panic across the country in the last few months is yet to subside, doctors said. 

Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital (STIDH)—the only national referral hospital dealing with communicable diseases—continues to receive above 50 patients suffering from dengue or having some of the symptoms of dengue each day. This comes in the wake of many believing that the dengue menace is already over with the end of the summer season. 

“It is surprising to see above 50 patients coming with dengue infection each day in this season when the epidemic should have ended,” said chief of the Clinical Research Unit at STIDH Dr Sher Bahadur Pun.

Dr Pun said that most of the dengue-infected people visiting the hospital hail from Nayabazar, Kuleshwar, Kalimati, Sanepa, Teku, Balaju and Kalanki areas in the capital. He also suggested people who have not yet suffered from this disease to exercise some precaution. 

Aedes aegypti mosquitoe, the carrier of dengue virus, is unlikely to sustain in low temperature. Dr Pun believes the prevalence of dengue during this winter might be due to the spreading of the virus by another type of mosquito called aedys albopyctus, which is also considered to be responsible for dengue infection.

Doctors say this type of mosquitoes can sustain also in low temperature unlike aedes eegypti. Aedes mosquito is also an important vector that spreads zika virus and chikungunya along with dengue. 

Doctors at the STIDH said more people are visiting the hospital with symptoms of conjunctivitis and dengue infection, which are prominent symptoms of zika. 

“But it is too early reach to any conclusion without proper research and gathering relevant evidences,” Dr Pun further said. 

Concerned officials said Nepal doesn’t have the capacity to carry out tests for zika virus yet. Despite being warned as a high risk country for zika outbreak along with dengue earlier by the World Health Organization (WHO), Nepal has not conducted any substantial tests and research to confirm the presence of zika virus. 

In 2018, bordering country India confirmed several cases of zika virus. The fact that migration and climate change have been additionally playing a role in spreading diseases could expose Nepal to the risk of zika virus, doctors say. 

Although a large number of people continue visiting the STIDH in Kathmandu for the treatment of dengue, Dr Anup Bastola, who is the chief consultant at the government-run hospital, says there is no need to panic much. 

“We observed the same amount of patients during Chhath last year too, the situation should improve after two more weeks,” he said. “We can already see a sharp decline in number of patients down to 50 from 800 patients a day. This means that the condition is improving.”

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