‘Dengue incidences increase 30-fold over last 50 years’

Publish: 9:02 PM, September 5, 2019 | Update: 9:02:PM, September 5, 2019

DHAKA, – The dengue incidence has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years, said a World Health Organisation (WHO) report recently.

“The incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years…Up to 50-100 million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk where Bangladesh is one of the countries that is affected by dengue viruses,” said the report.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection causing a severe flu-like illness and sometimes causing a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. Approximately, half of the world’s population is at risk and it affects infants, young children and adults, it said,

“Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin 3 to 14 days after infection. The most common symptoms are high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, and a characteristic skin rash.

Stressing creating awareness after the virus recovery, Director General of Health Services Professor Dr Abul Kalam Azad told BSS, “The people should be more aware after the recovery of the disease… This is because they are not concerned about post dengue complications which sometimes cause serious illnesses.”

Recovery generally takes two to seven days. Sometimes, the disease develops into severe dengue, also known as dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs, he said.

“The disease is transmitted by mosquito Aedes aegypti and the virus can further trigger immune response system after recovery and cause shocking illness which can affect vital organs of the body like brain, kidney, heart, nerves and other,” he added.

Some of the dengue symptoms can persist for up to 6 months after DHF. Clinical sequels were also seen following 2 years after the infection associated with alterations in some immunological parameters, Dr Azad said.

If awareness about after effects of dengue is raised among people, it will be possible to prevent post-dengue complications, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora told BSS adding, “For example, making people aware of taking regular exercise and maintaining a balanced diet would be a great way to avoid complications after dengue fever.”

Diet for dengue patients generally includes lots of fluid intake, green vegetables and proteins, said the government’s state monitoring arm’s director.

She emphasized nutrient rich fluids such as oral rehydration salts, sugar cane juice, tender coconut water, lime juice, fresh orange juice and various fruit juice, dairy products like eggs, chicken, and fish are highly recommended foods for dengue patients to combat the dengue virus.

She said, spicy and oily foods should be avoided for patients recovering from dengue fever while ginger tea is being most effective due to its various medicinal properties. She suggested to have pomegranates to help increasing blood count.

Additional Secretary of Health Ministry Habibur Rahman urged city dwellers not to panic over the Aedes mosquito-borne disease instead, they were suggested to visit a doctor immediately and go through a dengue diagnosis for any type of fever and it is not necessary for all dengue patients to be hospitalized.