Dengue spreads to all but one district of Gandaki province

Published On: September 13, 2019 08:26 AM NPT By: Santosh Pokharel

1,200 infected in Gandaki province, 900 in Pokhara alone

POKHARA, Sept 13: Dengue patients have been found in all districts of the Gandaki Province except for the mountain district of Mustang. Although a dengue patient has been found in Mustang's neighboring district Manang, officials at the Western Regional Health Directorate said the patient had reached there from another district.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the dengue virus to humans requires around 20 to 30 degrees Celsius temperature and 60 percent humidity to live, said doctors. The temperature in the tourist city of Pokhara now ranges between 20 and 32 degrees Celsius.

Dr Bhojraj Gautam, a doctor at the directorate, said that the temperature as well as humidity in Pokhara now is favorable for the dengue mosquito to thrive. “The current weather in Pokhara is favorable for the mosquito. Therefore, the dengue virus is spreading,” said Gautam. 

According to him, 1,200 dengue-infected patients have been found in Gandaki Province so far. “But the patient found in Manang is a visitor from another district. Current weather in the district isn't favorable for dengue mosquito.”

Temperatures in Manang and Mustang districts often remain in the same range. The maximum temperature in Mustang district headquarters Jomsom reaches up to 22 degrees Celsius, according to Bhanubhakta Koirala, chief  of Jomsom Airport. 

Among the total 11 districts of the province, highest number of dengue patients are from Kaski's Pokhara, which is also the provincial capital. According to Gautam, over 900 dengue patients are from Pokhara Metropolitan City alone. However, the metropolitan city office hasn't taken any serious initiative to tackle the problem. 

Kabita Paudel, nursing officer at the health division of the metropolitan office, said that the initiatives taken so far to address this problem weren't sufficient. “Last year, dengue patients were found only after Asoj [mid-September] and it stopped only in Paush [mid-Dec to mid-Jan]. This time it has started early and the infection is likely to affect more people,” she said. 

She said that the task of dengue control hasn't been much effective due to lack of coordination between three tiers of governments – federal, provincial and local – and lack of sufficient budget needed to take immediate measures.

With the number of patients constantly increasing over the past few days, the hospitals are finding it difficult to cope with the crisis.

“The hospital is crowded as people have started to come for checkup immediately after they have fever. But dengue is found in only a small number of patients,” said Dr Tumaya Ghale, medical superintendent of Gandaki Medical College. Around 22 dengue-infected patients are admitted at the medical college. “We have asked some normal patients to take rest at home as beds aren't available here,” she said. According to her, the hospital is under pressure to admit more patients.

This year, first dengue patient in Pokhara was found on August 1. The virus has been found in Pokhara since the last three years. Last year, 571 people were found infected by dengue virus in Pokhara.

The mosquito lays eggs in clean standing water on the ground or pots such as drums, water tanks, bottles, flower pots and discarded vehicle tires among other things.

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