No use claiming Chikungunya is not in epidemic form

The viral fever Chikungunya is sweeping over Dhaka city. It is more the case than exceptions to find ones not affected by this fever or recuperating from it. The above may sound like an exaggeration but the hard reality is this viral affliction has acquired the form of an epidemic from the sheer number of its victims. The worse observation is there is seen no sign of abatement of this health scourge.
Chikungunya’s appearance was noted from the middle of April and by that time it had become like a near epidemic. But it is regrettable that official and non official recognition of it as a debilitating health problem was negligible. While media coverage over the last two months remained obsessed with events such as the rape incidents of two upper class females, the worsening public health endangering Chikungunya seemed hardly a concern. It is ironical that publicities and advices on Chikungunya have started in the mainstream media only very recently when early reports on its outbreak could have possibly created enough pressure on the usually recalcitrant official authorities to work with energy to warn people about the fever and its associated problems.
Even now it is doubtful whether the current wave of viral fever is Chikungunya or something else. More investigations are called for to determine whether this disease in the Bangladesh context is actually spread by mosquito bite. The inside view of some sufferers is they could not recall any mosquito bites ; their premises were very clean and not a single mosquito was noted by them during the period of their affliction. Besides, they are all users of mosquito nets. Thus, there is reason to be skeptical about the declared route or agent of the transmission of the virus through biting mosquitoes. Greater and immediate research are needed to find out whether the current fever in Bangladesh is Chikungunya or not and if not then what can be the best safeguards against it in the sense of prevention and as treatment.
People of Dhaka over the years were subjected to all kinds of seasonal health problems. But the ones who were gripped by this fever and are now fever free, many of them are still heard complaining that they are suffering from joint pains, lethargy, lack of appetite, etc., notwithstanding that their fever ended weeks ago. Now some of our doctors are saying that such pains and other after effects may linger on for months or indefinitely longer. But why ? They should have better explanations or a system of effective treatment in place. If a patient who has had fever takes weeks or months to get back the stamina or vitality he or she enjoyed previously, then the same requires much serious medical investigation considering that the present fever is taking down so many and creating health, vitality and productivity problems for them.
In sum, we like to stress here that our officialdom ought not to play down the so called Chikungunya issue or as if to wish it away. It must be addressed amply and very seriously as a very potent threat to mass public health. But the lateststatements pouring out from DCC mayors are like rubbing salt in the wound. Thesame can only contribute to people’s indignation of the authorities over theissue. DCC North Mayor’s derisive comment that he cannot go door to door totell people to use mosquito netsor tokeep their premises clean, is as outrageous as it is inexcusably arrogant. Itis like the French Queen telling the famine stricken French people to eat cakeif they could not find bread. Our authrorities also appear to be living in sucha unreal world of make believe and arrogance. They have to come down to earthand even at this late hour prove they are doing everything in their powers toprevent further spread of Chickungunya and to make readily available a trulyeffective post-fever treatment of the disease. Otherwise, people’s growingwrath will not spare them.
Theabove things are not said easily. Chinkungunyareportedly also has spread well outside Dhakaand diversely. It is already seen in epidemic form in the capital city. Verysoon it will engulf the whole country if the lackadaisical reponse of theauthorities endure. The authorities need to gird up their loins right away anddo what they must do at the soonest in the public interest.


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